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Maximum ratio for health visitors needed

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The government should commit to placing a maximum ratio of 1:250 health visitors to families, said the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV).

This came after the Prime Minister's recognition of the importance of health visitors' role in supporting families and family relationships.

David Cameron addressed the audience at The Relationships Alliance conference on 18 August. He shared his intention to re-orientate health visitors to support the whole family and emphasised that health visitors are pivotal to providing advice for new mothers as well as helping families to stay together.

However, Cheryll Adams, chair of the iHV, said: 'In order for health visitors to do effective work, they need to have the time to do this. They currently have huge caseloads and not enough capacity to cope with them. So we are calling for this maximum ratio to ensure that we have the sufficient amount of health visitors per family.

'If we increase the numbers of health visitors then families are more likely to stay intact, children have a better chance. We need more health visitors for greater gains.'

The government committed to increase the number of health visitors by 4200 by the end of the current parliament. Ms Adams says that there would need to be a 10 per cent increase of staff every year to be able to fully deliver this policy.

iHV professional development officer Elaine McInnes, said: 'Protecting our new influx of staff is crucial. Health visitors tell us they are most likely to remain in a local area when professional support is available.'

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