Early intervention services provided by health visiting services have the potential to save the government billions of pounds, a report from the Institute of Health Visiting has found.
The report, The economics of health visiting: a universal preventative child and family health promotion programme, states that social problems affecting young people such as mental health problems, going into care, unemployment and youth crime cost the country almost £17 billion a year. However, intervening early in a child’s life reduces the potential for these factors to arise, while also improving the child’s health outcomes.
‘The earliest years of children’s lives have a powerful influence on their subsequent development and health, with benefits both to themselves and to society that last beyond childhood – and health visitors play a critical role in these early years,’ said Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting.
The report also states that early interventions in perinatal mental health, which can be provided by midwives and health visitors, have the potential to save the NHS as much as £1.2 billion.
‘Investing in an early intervention service, such as universal health visiting, reduces inequalities in the earliest years of a child’s life, giving all children the most important thing, the best start in life’, added Dr Adams.