RCN gives Scottish Tory plan for health visitors a lukewarm response

Written by Tom Freeman on 15 April 2016

Apart from the Scottish Conservatives seeking to underline their commitment to a publicly-owned NHS, health has been largely been out of the limelight in this election campaign so far, which is unusual for a Scottish election. 

The Tories, who launched their manifesto this week, made a commitment to provide a universal health visitor service, which would be attached to GP practices. 500 additional health visitors would be recruited over four years to help address long-term demand.

In fact a national universal health visitor service already exists, in some form, for children up to five, with a new health visitor pathway to address inconsistency in coverage due to be introduced. 


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The Royal College of Nursing was lukewarm to the idea. Ellen Hudson, RCN Scotland associate director said she had "serious concerns" about the service being attached to GP surgeries.

“It is crucial that health visitors and GP practices work together to deliver for children and their families. But health visitors must have the flexibility to deliver the service in ways which work for all families, particularly those who do not access services in a traditional way.  

"Sharing information and good communication with GP teams is crucial for children and their families, but this can be achieved through aligning services with GP practices, yet retaining that important flexibility. This does not require attachment," she said.

Perhaps the vision of multidisciplinary teams attached to a single practice is not as close as some may think...

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