The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV), founded last week, will promote best practice across the profession, according to DH director of nursing Professor Viv Bennett.
Backed by prime minister David Cameron and health minister Dr Dan Poulter and supported by The Royal Society for Public Health, the Institute aims to ensure health visitors have access to the latest research and practice materials - helping them to best serve families in every sector of UK society.
The organisation will operate as an independent charity and trustees have already been appointed, including health visitor academics Professor Rosamund Bryar, Professor Sarah Cowley and Professor Sally Kendall. The founding chair is Sally Russell, a government adviser and co-founder of the UK's largest parenting website, Netmums and a government adviser who will ensure parents' voices are strong within the Institute.
Dr Cheryll Adams, iHV founding director, said: 'Health visitors work with families from all backgrounds to help children receive the best possible start in life. The IHV believes this is the right of every child, and is committed to ensuring every family receives a universally high-quality service.'
Prof Bennett, a former health visitor told Independent Nurse: 'This fits with the health visitor commitment we announced this year and will be a way of sharing best practice across the profession. This will promote health visiting and although it will be independent it will be something [the DH] will consult with and approach as a strategic partner in the same way as the QNI.'
The Institute of Health Visiting will launch 'Sleep Well', its first public health campaign, early in 2013 with a series of master classes for health visitors and a survey.