Barnsley health visitors work in the community, offering support to families with children under five. They work from a number of venues, including GP surgeries, NHS clinics, family centres and community buildings.
What health visitors do
Their role is to improve children's health in the crucial first years of life by providing advice and support to families in their homes, through clinic appointments, or at group sessions, including:
- growth and development support
- advice about common childhood illness and how to manage these
- managing behaviour difficulties including sleeping, eating, potty training, temper tantrums and teething
- healthy nutrition, breastfeeding, weaning, healthy eating, hygiene, safety and exercise
- antenatal and postnatal support
- support for people experiencing domestic abuse
- providing advice on safety and accident prevention
- baby clinics and parenting support groups
- promoting the national screening and immunisation programmes
- working in partnership with families to develop health plans to their needs
Health visitors are qualified nurses or midwifes with an additional specialist public health qualification who, as part of their role, are trained to:
- assess the health needs of children and families
- deliver the 'healthy child programme' for children aged between 0-5 years
- monitor the health and development of children between 0-5 years, involving the family in promoting optimum health and development of all children
- intervene to protect vulnerable children and adults, for example child protection and/or domestic violence
- work collaboratively with other agencies, statutory and voluntary, to meet local and national targets in order to improve and reduce health inequalities
- promote good health in early years to reduce health inequalities, implementing the public health/health protection agenda across Barnsley
- support early intervention to identify and address the needs of children and families
How to get support from a health visitor
The Health Visiting Service is a universal service with every child/family having access to a health visitor. This universal service is part of the healthy child programme offered to all families with a child aged 0 to 5 who live in Barnsley.
Referrals for support with health and wellbeing issues over and above the routine healthy child programme can be made by families, early year’s settings, schools, GPs, social care and other allied health professionals.
Working with you
If you're getting support from a health visitor, they may, with your consent, share information about you with other partner agencies. They'll only do this on a strictly need to know basis to make sure your child receives the best possible healthcare and to save you having to tell your story lots of times.
Healthcare professionals have a duty to safeguard children, so if your child’s immediate safety or welfare is at risk, information may be shared legally without your consent.