This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Universal HV service needed

Written by: | Published:

The government wants to return health visiting to the 'universal service it once was', according to Dan Poulter MP.

Speaking to Independent Nurse, Mr Poulter, the parliamentary undersecretary for health services, said: 'We want to have health visiting as a universal service. We want to reach every family and every new life. One of the challenges that we face with health visiting is that it is far from the universal service it was a few years ago.'

He also highlighted the importance of the work health visitors do, such as working with mothers suffering from postnatal depression. He said: 'This is something that needs someone who is trained to understand and to support the patient. A health visitor can get the support in early because sometimes mums won't always recognise when they are running into trouble, or might dismiss their own signs or symptoms, where a health visitor will not.'

In February 2011, the government pledged to increase the number of health visitors by 4200 by the end of March 2015. Mr Poulter spoke to Independent Nurse at PHE's conference in early July.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.


I was interested to read your views regarding the "return to the universal service" of health visiting.

I am a health visiting student recruited as part of the current government pledge to increase the number of health visitors by 4200 by March 2015. It would be delightful to be able to deliver a universal service to families, but given the number of families needing additional support, the funding to provide this service seems to me woefully inadequate, especially in light of the austerity measures imposed by the same government which have pushed many more families into difficult circumstances. These difficult circumstances then add pressure to already fragile families and cause more to fragment due to poverty, economic strain, unemployment. This can then take a more sinister turn for some, who seek to escape their circumstances by substance abuse and alcohol dependence.

All these circumstances lead to more families being labelled as "troubled" which then detracts from the universal service health visitors are desperately trying to deliver. If the government want their supposed support for families to be taken seriously they need to acknowledge the role they have played in changing the balance of family dynamics, and address the root causes.
Posted by: ,

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.