Peckover, Sue (2011) ‘From ‘public health’ to ‘safeguarding children’: British health visiting in policy, practice and research. In: CPHVA Annual Conference, 19-20 October 2011, Brighton Centre, Brighton. (Unpublished)

Despite uncertainties about the future of health visiting it has a remained a key and universal service within the British welfare state. This may because health visiting always meets a central policy objective whether that is concerned with child protection, early intervention or public health. Whilst there are currently many challenges - the expansive safeguarding children agenda, the requirement to target service provision within a universal framework and concerns about workforce numbers – recent policy developments which aim to strengthen health visiting suggest it continues to play a central role in relation to child and family health and welfare. And yet despite this, health visiting often remains on the sidelines, marginalised or invisible. This may reflect the places and spaces in which health visiting operates which is largely a gendered and often private world. It may also reflect it’s relatively weak position within the academic world and the diverse knowledge and research base which supports professional practice. This paper will explore some of these tensions in how British health visiting is located and understood in the worlds of policy, practice and research. It will suggest that some of these tensions and uncertainties within health visiting may be a strength, enabling the profession to adapt itself in response to policy and practice developments. Thus the paper will both celebrate and critique the survival of health visiting, whilst also noting the challenging policy and budgetary environment in which it is currently being commissioned.

Paper given at CPHVA Conference October 2011
Dr_Sue_Peckover_19th_October_2011_HV_in_policy_practice_and_research.pptx - Presentation

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