Vital Visitors

downloadMost of us experience the vital work of local government on almost a daily basis. We may not always appreciate how important these services are and occasionally may resent the cost of this vital provision or find fault with the way in which the work is delivered. It is easy to value services such as bin emptying or street cleaning because they are activities that be seen by all residents equally and they visually impact the neighbourhood. However some of the most important activities provided by the state are targeted on the lives and in places that are not seen by many of us. There are many examples of these services, some of which are doubly difficult to measure because they are preventative in nature. One such service is carried out by a group of dedicated professionals known as Health Visitors. They currently visit families five times around the birth of a child, once before the baby is born and the final visit usually when the toddler is about 30 months old. Their role is to provide advice and recommendations around themes such as immunisation and feeding, mental health and parenting support. Central Government is currently reviewing the role of health visitors and there are real concerns that they may remove the requirement to provide this service. The risk is that councils will feel under immense pressure to cut corners and spend less on this type of service when the demands elsewhere are so much more evident to those with loud voices. All councils need to resist this urge and ensure that they protect this vital service for all families. The impact on a family that is not adequately supported will be felt acutely by them, the impact on society as a whole if a generation or more is left to flounder will cost far more than the small cost of running this targeted service.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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