Health visitors urged to play greater role in child protection

    Health visitors, nurses and midwives need to play a greater role
    in child protection, particularly in the new children’s
    organisations, England’s chief nursing officer has
    recommended, writes Derren Hayes.

    The review by Sarah Mullally identifies gaps in the way nursing,
    midwifery and health visiting services are currently organised,
    which impact on their ability to protect vulnerable children. The
    lack of an integrated children’s workforce creates a further

    She said integration is needed across a number of professional
    and organisational boundaries, particularly between health, social
    care and education, and calls for increased child protection
    training for nurses and more multidisciplinary learning.

    Opportunities for nurses, midwives and health visitors to be
    co-located in integrated children’s teams such as Sure Start
    and children’s centres should be maximised, while they should
    also take the lead professional role for children and families with
    health and development needs.

    Mullally recommends the appointment of at least one full-time
    nurse for each secondary school and its feeder primary schools, and
    a more clearly defined public health role for health visitors
    within Sure Start, children’s centres, children’s
    trusts and primary care trusts.

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