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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