Who are we? 

Health Visitors are public health nurses who have a child and family-centred role.  They are registered nurses or midwives who have additional registered specialist training in public health (Specialist Community Public Health Nurse - SCPHN). 

Health Visitors work with babies, children and families from pregnancy to starting school. They lead teams in supporting thousands of families every week and provide extra support when families need it the most. 

Health Visitors support the infant-parent relationship to ensure that every baby gets the best possible start in life, recognising the importance of the first 1001 days in social and emotional development.

The role of the health visitor - What do Health Visitors do?

Health Visitors lead the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme in Tameside.  This is a national programme for children aged 0-19 years and their families: Health Visitors provide this from 0-5 years of age, and School Nurses provide the 5-19 years element. 

The Healthy Child Programme is described as Universal in Reach and Personalised in Response.  

There are 4 levels of service depending on individual and family needs: 

  • Community.
  • Universal. 
  • Targeted.  
  • Specialist levels of support.

The Health Visiting Service is provided to all families.  All support, advice and interventions are evidence-based, and are tailored to meet individual and family needs. There is a connectivity and fluidity between the levels of support, as families’ needs may change over time and circumstances. 

The support required by most families and children will predominantly be met through the universal offer, essential for keeping children safe and well.  We aim to provide information and support in a timely way so that families can make informed choices about health and wellbeing as early as possible, ideally preventing problems from occurring or becoming worse.

We work with families in their own homes, in community clinics and in children’s centres.

Safeguarding children is embedded in the role of the Health Visiting Service because Health Visitors have a vital role in keeping children safe, working with other agencies in local safeguarding arrangements to do this.

Health Visiting professional practice is underpinned and guided by four principles:

  • The search for health needs.
  • Stimulation of an awareness of health needs
  • The influence on policies affecting health
  • The facilitation of health enhancing activities

The Health Visiting Service Core Offer  

Every family who is pregnant, or has a baby or child under 5, and lives in Tameside, can access the Health Visiting Service.  We will contact you either during the later stages of pregnancy, or after the birth of your baby to let you know about the core offer that every family is entitled to:

  • Antenatal Visit
  • New Birth Visit
  • 6-8 week Health & Development Review
  • 12 month Health & Development Review
  • 2 year Health & Development Review

If you have recently moved into the area and haven’t had contact from our service, please call your local team.  Our core hours for accessing the health visiting service are Monday – Friday 09.00hrs-1700hrs

There are 9 Health Visiting Teams in Tameside and each team comprises:

  • Health Visitors
  • Community Staff Nurses
  • Community Nursery Nurses
  • Healthy Child Programme Assistants 

We are very active in training the next generation of Nurses and Health Visitors and so you may also meet:

  • Student Nurses
  • Student Health Visitors (qualified nurses or midwives who are completing post-registration Specialist Community Public Health Nursing training)

Our Health Visiting teams are based in community clinics across Tameside:

Health Visitors work in partnership with many other services and agencies including:

  • Midwives
  • Children`s Centres
  • Physiotherapists
  • Paediatricians
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Dietitians
  • GP`s
  • Nurseries and Childminders
  • Early Attachment Service & Perinatal Mental Health Specialists
  • Children`s Social Care 

to name a few…

How many times will I have contact with the Health Visiting Service? 

Families will be offered:

  • Antenatal Visit
  • New Birth Visit
  • 6-8 week Health & Development Review
  • 12 month Health & Development Review
  • 2 year Health & Development Review 

I think I might have low mood following the birth of my baby. 

Your health visitor can help support you during this time and will ensure that you continue to receive Health Visitor support along with support from your GP and Mental Health Services.

I am worried about my bond with my baby.

Your Health Visitor will support you to access appropriate services including the Early Attachment Team.

Breast feeding isn`t going as well as I thought. 

Your health Visitor will complete a feeding assessment at each contact and signpost or refer to appropriate services to ensure that your feeding plan is uninterrupted and supported.

I have a concern regarding my child`s development. 

Your health visitor will listen to your concerns and complete an up to date developmental assessment which may be in addition to the 9 month and 2 year offer. The Health Visitor will then plan the next steps and who will continue that support.

How do I get my partner more involved with parenting ? 

Partners sometimes need a bit more time to learn how to read their baby’s cues and work out what’s needed. Try dividing jobs up, so you look after feeding, while your partner is  in charge of bath-time allowing them to build their own way of doing  things to help build confidence, instead of telling him how it ‘should’ be done, and hopefully you’ll find they will  take the lead more regularly. The Health Visitor can advise on parenting issues both in the first year and beyond. 

Sleep-deprived parent I’m exhausted! I know all new parents are sleep-deprived, but it feels overwhelming and do not know what to do.

It might be you’re feeling a bit down and going through the motions for the baby, but feeling foggy or disjointed. ‘And you might be frightened that if you tell your health visitor, they will be on the phone to social services. But they won’t be.
Be honest with your health visitor because they can offer support or put you in touch with your GP or Post -natal Depression Group or if the child is older give advice on improving sleep difficulties. 

Is the Health Visitor only there to help with your baby?

The health visitor is there for both parents as much as the baby or toddler.

Which means you can ask questions about how you’re feeling or how your partner is getting on in their new role 
It might be you’ve got concerns about your partner who is struggling to adapt to being a parent.  Or you’re worried your other children aren’t happy about the arrival of a new baby

Your health visitor can help with advice, or point you in the right direction for help and support they can help with any relationship questions or concerns you might have. If it’s outside their scope of expertise, they can direct you on to someone else – for example a sexual health clinic, community groups  or your GP or Relate.

Don’t forget your health visitor is there until your child is five until the school nurses take over