Health visiting services

Health visitors aim to promote the health and well being of families with children under the age of five.

They encourage healthy lifestyles, addressing concerns about physical and mental wellbeing, as well as readdressing health inequalities.

Health visitors are based in health centres, children's centres and general practitioner (GP) practices. All health visitors are registered nurses or midwives with an additional qualification as a specialist community public health nurse.

The service aims to work in partnership with families and with other local providers of services for children and families. In addition, health visiting teams link with school nursing services once the child enters school.

Health visitors lead on the National Healthy Child Programme (birth to five years) and universally offer health reviews and support to families at home or in a community venue.

They offer a wide range of advice and support, including:

  • Breastfeeding support, infant feeding and weaning
  • Parenting advice and support with behaviour management
  • Maternal emotional wellbeing and mental health support
  • Monitoring and assessing child development and growth, and speech and language development
  • Family planning information
  • Immunisation advice
  • Common illness management
  • Safety and accident prevention
  • Support with disabilities and special needs
  • Supporting healthy eating
  • Safeguarding children
  • General health advice and referral to appropriate services

Some parents will have their first contact with their health visitor during pregnancy. After birth, a health visitor will contact the family to make an appointment to visit them within 14 days of birth notification.

Families with children under five will also have contact with their health visiting team on moving into the borough (or area).

Eligibility criteria and referrals

Health visiting is a universal service and aims to include everyone. Any parent or family can make contact with the service although sometimes other agencies contact health visitors and refer families to them. These services may include: 

  • GPs
  • Midwives, Family Nurse Partnership nurses or school nurses
  • Health visitors working in other boroughs
  • Allied health professionals, staff at acute trusts, community paediatricians
  • Children's centres or children's services
  • Police and other agencies

Once the team has received a referral it identifies the child’s and family's needs, and draws up a specific care package.

Parents are invited to bring their children to key health reviews and drop-in clinics provided by the health visiting teams. In addition, breastfeeding and antenatal support sessions are available at children's centres in Hillingdon and Milton Keynes, where specially trained team members can provide help and advice.

Details of how to contact your health visiting team are available from your GP.

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  • If you're interested in a career in health visiting, we're currently recruiting for more health visitors in Milton Keynes
    Health visiting jobs

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