All families with a child under five in County Durham have access to a Health Visiting Team consisting of Health Visitors, Early Years and Assistant Practitioners and infant feeding specialists. They provide expert health assessments, advice, support and interventions for babies, children and families.
The team encourages and supports parents and carers to develop life-long skills to enable them to make informed choices that affect their family’s future health and wellbeing.
The team is community-based and is accessible at a range of different venues including the family home, children’s centres, health centres and GP surgeries.
Health visitors are registered nurses or midwives who have an additional qualification in specialist community public health nursing. They are highly skilled in the assessment and co-ordination of support tailored to individual and family needs.
Health Visitors lead and co-ordinate the universal Healthy Child Programme starting in pregnancy and throughout the first five years the child’s life.
Healthy Child Programme
The Healthy Child Programme is a public health programme for children, young people and families which focuses on early intervention and prevention. The HCP offers a programme of screening tests, immunisations, developmental reviews, information and guidance to support parenting and healthy lifestyle choices.
The Healthy Child Programme contacts include:
- Antenatal contact
- New birth visit at 10-14 days
- Contact at 6-8 weeks
- Contact at 3-4 months
- A child health review/development assessment by one year of age
- A child health review/development assessment by two and a half years of age
- A child health review/development assessment between 3-5 years
Some common areas of information and support:
- Pregnancy and transition into parenthood
- Infant feeding/ specialist breast feeding support
- Growth and nutrition
- Healthy eating
- Dental health
- Accident prevention
- Safe sleeping
- Speech and language development
- Common childhood illness/infection
- Postnatal depression and emotional wellbeing
Core contacts for the Health Vising Service following the Family Footpath Pathway.
Child health clinics
Child health clinics are held in most areas of County Durham. They will be in central points in the community (usually children’s centres, health centres and GP surgeries). These clinics are open to all families on a ‘drop in’ basis.
The service accepts referrals from:
- Midwifery services
- GPs and other professionals
- Self-referral from parents/carers
- Other statutory and voluntary agencies
The Health Visiting Service positively encourages feedback from families and uses a range of methods to capture and improve their experience.
The Health Visiting Team can be contacted Monday-Friday 9am-5pm excluding bank holidays.
The County Durham 0-5 Service central contact number is 03000 263538.
The 0-5 Service is delivered in partnership with a range of health, social and education organisations and teams including:
- One Point
- Families First
- Early Years Education Providers
- School nurses
- Voluntary sector
- Sexual health services