Health Visitor Service On Islands Below Capacity

Health visitor services on our islands are currently below the expected levels.

That’s despite the Coalition Government’s recent commitment to increase the number of health visitors, who they believe are important for early detection and prevention in children, particularly those under 5 years of age.

Members of the Council’s Children’s Trust Board heard on Tuesday that there should be a health visitor on the islands working 22.5 hours over three days every week.

But the last person holding that role is taking a career break and cover is having to be provided from the mainland.

A health visitor travels over from Cornwall once every two weeks.

Alison Cook, Director of Children’s Services for the NHS in Scilly and Cornwall, said that while health visitor cover on Scilly was “not up to capacity” all statutory visits are being covered.

The NHS in our region is investing £1.7m over three years to recruit 34 additional health visitors as well as training around 8 new students each year to 2015.

But Alison said that, while the increase in funding for health visitors is very welcome, it means that it has become harder to recruit experienced professionals as they’re now in demand across the country.

An assistant health visitor role is also currently vacant on the islands, but Alison says priority is being given to Cornwall and the NHS are “doing what they can” for Scilly.


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