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Health visitor development and retention

The aim of the project is  to support the local health visitor workforce working with Communities of Practice, employers and NHS England teams across the south west

Sirona’s Health Visiting Service has developed a short (3 session) antenatal parent course based on the government’s Preparing for Birth and Beyond (2011) framework.  Hello Baby! is a universal offering, facilitated by Health Visitors.  It capitalises on health visitor’s in-depth knowledge around the neurological and health benefits of attuned parenting, maternal well-being and infant feeding.  The Hello Baby! training focuses on facilitation skills, reinforcing the parent partnership model and moving health visiting towards a bio-psycho-social model of care. Hello baby! has established an antenatal group-based offering that feed into Baby Feeding Hub postnatal drop-in groups, which have replaced Baby Clinics in all of BANES.

The project is supported by health visitor retention funding with health visitor training being delivered from early 2015.  By January 2016, all Bath and North East Somerset (BANES) health visitor teams will be offering Hello Baby! courses.

Anticipated benefits are:

The benefits of introducing Hello Baby! are already becoming apparent. 

  • Firstly, offering all Health Visitors group facilitation training has improved understanding and confidence in facilitating Baby Feeding Hubs. 
  • Secondly, introducing an antenatal parent course creates another opportunity for Health Visitors engagement in early intervention of the six high impact areas of the Healthy Child Programme, through a parent partnership approach.  
  • Finally, working antenatally with small groups of women and their closest supporters builds community capacity for those women and their families, particularly if they go on to attend Baby Feeding Hubs postnatally.  This has the potential to improve outcomes and reduce pressure on the Health Visiting workload.


Chrissie Hardman, Head of Children’s Health Services, Sirona care & health said The Hello Baby! Course and training has been well received by health visitors with many reflecting on the benefits of early ‘antenatal’ engagement and the longer term potential of boosting peer support opportunities.  They have also valued the opportunity to build their skills in facilitating group learning and feel more confident as they explore the highly interactive and participative approach adopted in Hello Baby!  The real strength of this model is that it draws on health visitors’ existing knowledge, develops a new skill set and offers another conduit for the delivery of the Healthy Child Programme.

For more information, please contact Chrissie Hardman, Head of Children’s Health Services, Sirona care & health – Headquarters, Bath.

This Page was last updated on: 7 December 2015

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