New health visiting clinics will launch across the county to support families with babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like many services, health visitors had to adapt the way they provide support during the pandemic to protect the health of parents, babies and their staff.
This meant for many families telephone and online support was offered in line with guidance to minimise the risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Now, in line with the Government’s road map out of lockdown the team is preparing to invite families into clinics and Family Hubs once again.
Working on an appointment basis, families of babies born between 1st March 2020 and 31st Dec 2020 will be invited to book an appointment to see a health visitor at a local Family Hub or clinic.
The appointments will provide an opportunity for new parents to discuss any concerns they may have about their child’s health and development.
“An addition to increasing home visits to families, we’re delighted to be able to offer face to face appointments within our Family Hubs and clinics once again and understand how important this is to new parents and their babies”, explains Louise Langston, Service Manager for the Starting Well Partnership.
“The last 15 months have been undeniably hard for families, especially those who have had babies during lockdown. We want all families to be able to access support and reassurance in a timely manner, and hope the new appointment system will give families an opportunity to discuss any concerns they might have in the safest possible way.”
Commencing Monday 21st June, slots will be released each Monday for the following week and can be booked by calling your local health visiting team.
Families can also access the Telephone Advisory Service (TAS) which is available to parents and carers of children up to the age of 5, to discuss concerns including feeding, toileting and behaviour.
Manned by health visitors, the service is available Monday - Friday between 9:00am-3:00pm by calling 0300 123 9551.
Health visitors are qualified nurses and midwives who have specialist training in community public health nursing. They provide advice and support to parents and carers for a variety of concerns including toileting, feeding and immunisations from birth through to 5 years old.
Locally, they sit within the Starting Well Partnership, who have delivered services for children, young people and families across the county since April 2020.
Led by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the Partnership brings together professionals from the NHS, Barnardo’s, Action for Children, and Redditch Borough Council to support ‘parents to be’ and their children from birth through to 19 years.
Working alongside local organisations and community groups including schools, the Partnership identifies and addresses health and wellbeing needs by empowering families and young people to access support networks and groups in their local community.