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Decline in health visiting

In 2008 the health visiting service was in decline and the effects on families were captured in this report of a survey of 6,000 mums. 'Left fending for Ourselves' was the Netmums' response to seeing families with very young children struggling with concerns about their children's development or their own mental health and feeling that they didn't have anyone to turn to.

Today, as Local Authorities take forward the responsibility for commissioning services in England there is significant potential for these dark days to return. This would have significant impact on the lives and outcomes of many families.

The difference now is that the importance of maintaining good mental health in the perinatal period is understood and being championed. As Health Visitors remain the best-placed professionals able to identify and support women (and their partners), it is to be hoped that Commissioners are able to ensure the universal and targeted services are sufficiently maintained.

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