Health visitors seek greater protection

The leading membership body for health visitors is to begin talks
with the Department of Health to create a better system for dealing
with families considered dangerous, following the death of toddler
Ainlee Labonte.

The move by the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors
Association comes after the publication of an independent review
into Ainlee’s death released last month found that professionals
had failed to protect the two year old because they feared her
parents (news, page 6, 19 December).

It found that health visitors had refused to make home visits after
Ainlee’s mother, Leanne Labonte, assaulted a health visitor at a

CPHVA chief executive Mark Jones said: “The report is basically
saying that we need to do more. It is entirely right and proper
that health workers should put their personal safety at high
priority. But it should not mean that this happens.”

Describing Ainlee’s death as a “wake-up call” to health workers,
Jones added that more needed to be done to develop a formal system
of dealing with dangerous families, which was currently too ad hoc.

Jones said more training was needed as well as an increase in the
general awareness among all professionals of how to deal with
dangerous families. “The level of violence against health
professionals working in the community has crept up over the past
few years,” Jones said.

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