More support for children and families in Cumbria

Support for children and families in Cumbria will be boosted in the next few years thanks to newly qualified health visitors.

In the next few months eight nurses who have qualified as health visitors will join colleagues across Cumbria to help families and children. 15 more nurses have now begun the health visitor qualification.

Health visitors, employed in Cumbria by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, support and help families and young children in the crucial first years of life. It is a diverse role which involves working in the community to prevent illness and promote health and wellbeing.  The aim is for an overall 20% increase in health visitors in Cumbria by 2015.

Sarah Cooper, Pathway Lead for Pregnancy and Early Years, explains:

“There is currently a national drive to increase the number of health visitors in England. Nationally the aim is to recruit 4,200 health visitors by 2015. This drive has been successful in Cumbria with 100 applicants for 15 places on the health visiting course.

Research has shown that health visiting is very important for the best start to a person's life. It positively affects the health and social outcomes during the crucial early years which can lead to improved health and well being as children grow older and into adulthood. I welcome this focus on increasing the number of health visitors as they are best placed to help families and young children.”

Some of the new Cumbrian health visiting students have shared their stories about why they have decided to change careers.

Lesley Martin, 30, who is beginning her Health Visitor placement in Carlisle, said:

“I'm really excited to be working as a Health Visitor in Carlisle. All of my other jobs have been hospital or clinical based so this is very different for me. Part of my job involves promoting health services and I am looking forward to being able to give families the information they need to make the right choices for them and to help make a difference in their lives.”

Danielle Sadler, 28, from South Lakeland explains:

“With all of the government and local changes, it's a great time to be a Health Visitor. I heard about the course through a colleague of mine and it's very different from what I have done in the past. I am working with a fantastic team in South Lakes who are very supportive of my learning.  It will be great to learn new skills and be able to transfer my university knowledge to become a specialist practitioner.”

Claire Jackson, 34 from Penrith, explains:

“I've been thinking about becoming a Health Visitor for a few years now and after speaking to some of my friends who are Health Visitors I realised how rewarding a career as a Health Visitor would be. I am happy to be able to start working in the community again and be involved in promoting health services to the public to help improve the health and wellbeing of families in the community.”

Margaret Ayeni, 32, is starting as a health visitor student in Penrith. She explains:

“I am most looking forward to working with children and families, and helping parents to meet the needs of newborns and young children. I can't wait to help people out in the community as much as possible.”

Moira Angel, Executive Director of Nursing, NHS Cumbria said:

“The increase in health visitors is in line with national policy, however we are delighted to have done so well locally.

We are working closely with the Trust and University of Cumbria to make sure people are being trained not only to meet the demand for health visitors currently but also to meet the demands of families in the future.

We welcome the new health visitors which will join the team, and also look forward to those who started their training in September joining us. This increase in health visitors is a good thing for our children and families. Every nursing contact counts for improving public health”.”