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Health visiting guidance for commissioners published

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A new document to help local authorities correctly commission health visiting services has been published today by NICE.

The briefing summarises the existing recommendations relevant to health visiting. These link to the Department of Health's six early years high-impact areas created to support the transition of commissioning of health visitor services to local authorities.

Local authorities can follow these recommendations to assist them in commissioning high-quality health visiting services to make the best use of resources and provide good value for money.

The recommendations in the health briefing include: supporting families in the early weeks after birth; promoting and supporting breastfeeding, and advising on dietary supplements for breastfeeding children at risk of vitamin D deficiency; maintaining a healthy weight among family members; and supporting maternal mental wellbeing.

Professor Mike Kelly, director of the Centre for Public Health at NICE, said: 'From October 2015, local authorities will take full responsibility for commissioning public health services for children up to the age of five. Putting the recommendations highlighted in this briefing into practice will help local authorities and their partner organisations to support members of the health visiting team, and commission effective public health services.'

NICE has also published a briefing to help local authorities understand how to use evidence such as formal research, community services or clinical results to inform decisions about commissioning and practice.

From October 2015 local authorities will take over the commissioning of health visitors and all health services for children up to the age of five.

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