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.