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New health visiting career pathway launched

A new career pathway for health visiting has been published, to be used as a tool for workforce planning amid government ambitions to increase the number of nurses in the specialty.

The Institute of Health Visiting (iHV) has this week published its career pathway that aims strengthen opportunities for “beginning, developing and leading” as a health visitor.

“With such significant health visitor workforce shortages, we recognise that we need to make it easier for people to enter the profession”

Alison Morton

The document includes the different job roles that contribute to health visiting provision, mapping them against the level of practice, educational development, expertise and responsibility required.

The iHV said the pathway “recognises the use of skill mix roles”. It sets out a route from non-registered roles all the way to advanced and consultant level health visiting practice.

The document comes as, earlier this year, the government in England announced its intention to grow the health visiting workforce.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan set out an ambition to expand health visitor training places by 74% to more than 1,300 annually by 2031-32.

The ambition for growth in this area comes as there are currently significant workforce shortages in health visiting which, according to the iHV, has prevented families with babies and children from accessing the care that they need.

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Latest workforce data showed that, as of July, there were 5,473 health visitors working in the NHS in England. This is a 32% decline over 10 years.

Alison Morton

Chief executive of the iHV, Alison Morton, said: “With such significant health visitor workforce shortages, we recognise that we need to make it easier for people to enter the profession and have worthwhile and attractive career opportunities in health visiting at all levels – whether practitioners are just entering the field or looking to progress in the profession to more senior roles.”

The new pathway is designed for employers to use it to invest in new talent and to help individuals see where their ambition can take them when health visiting is their chosen career.

Ms Morton added: “Our pathway draws on the workforce plan’s priorities to ‘train, retain and reform’ and provides multiple entry points into health visiting.

“To support staff retention, it also outlines career opportunities beyond health visitor registration that are so desperately needed to keep experienced practitioners within the profession.”

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