The new service delivered by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust brings together the existing health visitor and family nurse partnership services, (which provides intensive support for very vulnerable young families for up to two years), with expertise provided by the well established charity Barnardo’s.
Councillor Patricia Stallard, Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Health and Public Health, said: “This new contract is one of the first of its kind in the country, where an existing health provider works alongside a leading charity to ensure the youngest members of our society have the best possible start in life.The new contract is all about helping parents to be successful, and builds on the very effective support already provided to new parents and young children in Hampshire.”
Through the health visiting and other professional services provided by Southern Health, all new mothers and babies in Hampshire receive antenatal and new baby reviews, as well as a 6-8 week assessment, one year assessment anda 2-2 ½ year review.Families have access to child health advice where they can get extra support from health visitors and nursery nurses, and if needed can be referred to specialist services, should a more complex issue arise.
Barnado’s, who work directly with over 240,000 children, young people and their families across the country every year, will use their extensive networks to identify any additional local community support that may be needed to help families with very young children to remain emotionally and physically healthy. They will then work with local communities to provide that support.
An important aspect to their work will be to encourage volunteering – providing opportunities for people to come forward to support local families.This could take a number of forms including helping at local projects, befriending and supporting a new mum or family to access services.
Julie Dawes Interim Chief Executive, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the Public Health Nursing 0-5 Years contract for 2017/18. I firmly believe that we can continue to deliver the best quality services for Hampshire’s children and families with our skilled and experienced health visitors, nursery nurses and family nurse partnership team.We are excited about developing a new partnership with Barnardo’s enabling us to offer more community based group work to support families with health and emotional wellbeing.”
Rachel McKernan, Assistant Director Children’s Services, Barnardo’s said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and Southern Health. Barnardo’s believes in children and we know that stronger communities support stronger families. We will be using our experience and expertise to develop community based support and services for families that promote children’s healthy development in the early years. Our staff and volunteers will work alongside health visiting teams across Hampshire to ensure every child has the best possible start in life.”