More health visitors needed to hit government target

By Neil Puffett

| 29 July 2014

More than 1,800 health visitors must be recruited within 12 months in order for the government to achieve its five-year pledge to boost numbers within the profession, new figures show.

As of April this year there were 10,424 full-time health visitors in post across England. Picture: Alex Deverill

When the coalition government took power in May 2010 it vowed to increase the number of health visitors by 4,200 by the end of parliament.

Latest NHS statistics show that, as of April this year, there were 10,424 full-time health visitors in post.

That represents an increase of 2,332 on the baseline level of 8,092 in May 2010 - meaning a further 1,868 health visitors must be recruited by April 2015 if the government pledge is to be met.

The figures show that the largest increase in health visitor numbers came in the South of England commissioning region where there has been a 33.3 per cent increase from 1,839 in May 2010 to 2,452 in April 2014.

The Midlands and East of England commissioning region was not far behind with a 33.1 per cent increase from 2,343 health visitors in May 2010 to 3,119 in April 2014, while the North of England commissioning area had a 27.1 per cent increase from 2,759 to 3,505 during the same period.

The smallest increase came in the London commissioning area, which saw an increase of 17.1 per cent from 1,151 health visitors in May 2010, to 1,336 in April 2014.

For the overall target to be met, the government will be largely reliant on health visitor students currently in training successfully graduating and gaining employment.

The NHS statistics show that 1,566 students started the 12-month health visitor training course in September 2013.

However not all of those who start the training go on to complete it, and there are no figures for how many who have completed the training have gone on to gain employment as a health visitor.

A Department of Health spokesman said there are now 2,500 more full time health visitors than 2010 and five times as many trainees.
"We're confident we will meet our five-year target which will transform services for young people and their families," the spokesman added.

blog comments powered by Disqus