iHV  Winter Newsletter Issue 1



Our mission

To be a Centre of Excellence,

  • supporting the development of universally high quality health visiting practice,
  • so that health visitors can effectively respond to the health needs of all children, families and communities,
  • enabling them to achieve their optimum level of health, thereby reducing health inequalities.



It gives me great pleasure to introduce the first newsletter of the Institute of Health Visiting which was launched on the 28th of November 2012.  The Institute's strap line is Excellence in Practice.  We aspire to all health visitors having the resources to provide every family with timely help, and evidence based consistent information to support their parenting role.  

We will be publishing quarterly newsletters about the work of the iHV for all those who sign up for them through the website, and more frequent newsletters and alerts with specific professional content for those who join us as associates or friends.  

2012 is the year which marks the anniversary of the employment of the first health visitor in 1862. It is proving a landmark year for health visitors. We have a government which is investing significantly in the profession, and the early fruits of that investment are currently reaching families as the first cohort of a new wave of 4200 health visitors due to join the profession by 2015 take up posts. Now we have an Institute of Health Visiting, we believe a very important development for the profession.  

Many people have already supported us on the first stage of our journey, we hope that you too will support us as we move forwards.  We are now accepting Associate and Friend subscriptions - be amongst the first to join us and support our essential work on behalf of children, families and communities.

Ensuring the quality and consistency of the universal service health visitors provide to families, whatever their circumstances, will be central to our activity. We firmly believe that our approach will lead to significant benefits for all in society in the years to come.

The iHV Founding Team

The iHV founding team, Chair and the  Minister

From left to right Professor Ros Bryar (Founding Trustee),  Professor Sarah Cowley (Founding Trustee),  Professor Sally Kendall (Professor Sally kendall) , Dr Dan Poulter (Minister M.P), Sally Russell (Chair) and Dr Cheryll Adams ( Founding Director, iHV)

To read more about the institute's founding  trustees, go to
To read more about the institute's founding Director go to 

We are delighted to have a new addition to our team of Trustees, Peter Bennett, Partnership Executive Officer, Bates, Wells and Braithwaite who will bring his huge experience of running organisations.

Launch Photos

To see more launch photos, go here on the iHV website 

Launch Story

For four senior academic health visitors the journey to creating this institute has been an interesting, and not uneventful one.  We have had to embrace a series of hurdles and challenges including gaining government support for this new Institute, locating set up funding, creating a website and deciding on our legal model.   We now have charitable status - Charity No: 1149745.  

However the first step was to ensure that there was a need for the Institute and for this we consulted many respected 'elders', those who would give us unbiased advice. We received back a resounding 'what a good idea'! Later there was the critically important step of talking to the profession about what they would like the iHV to do for them.  Once again the enthusiasm was infectious, but it was also tempered with strong views in certain areas such as our operating model, and that was very helpful.  

Throughout we have valued the support of government who funded the set up, and who have held us to account for the spending of public money, but they have done much more.  The Director of Nursing in the Department of Health, Professor Viv Bennett for example has acted as an essential critical friend.  We were delighted to reward her contribution to health visiting with a Foundation Fellowship during the launch.  

Another significant supporter has been our new Chair, Sally Russell, a Director of Netmums. Sally has been another essential critical friend who has helped us develop in a way which will allow us to be directly responsive to the needs of families and in the future we will be able to test our effectiveness with families through Netmums.  Indeed the decision to make our first campaign about sleep was based on Netmums recent research of 11.000 families into the degree of sleeping challenges they face.

Finally we have received crucial support from the Royal Society for Public Health as discussed below.  This support which came early in our development has allowed us to put the iHV firmly back where it belongs very closely associated with public health.  Indeed one of the RSPH's predecessor bodies regulated some of the first health visitors, so history goes full circle as they are now our close partner.

Our launch event was fantastic, held as it was in the beautiful setting of 28 Portland Place and presided over by our new Chair, Sally Russell with invited guests Dr Dan Poulter M.P, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health and Professor Viv Bennett. We have since been delighted by the response to the iHV both in the press and through personal contacts, for more details see our website

Now we must start the second phase of our journey, strengthening our structures, attracting funding and developing a realistic work programme which is responsive to health visitor and family needs.

Would we do it all again?  Yes we probably would, its been a very positive and enjoyable journey, but perhaps in our next life!   

Endorsement Snippets

The institute has received some fantastic endorsements, including one from the Prime Minister

“I am delighted to welcome the new Institute of Health Visiting today. I have always strongly believed that health visitors are vital in improving the health and well being of children, their families and the wider community. That's why I made a personal commitment to increase the numbers of health visitors in our country - and it's a commitment we are keeping.

"It is very fitting that the Institute is launched in the 150th year of health visiting.  We know that health visitors continue to be hugely valued by parents. The Institute will support the profession so that more health visitors can deliver the best care and more families can benefit from their great work.”

Rt. Hon. David Cameron, Prime Minister

To see the rest of the endorsements for the iHV, go to this link on the website

Taking Partnership Seriously

The iHV is unlikely to have ever been launched if it hadn't been for the enthusiasm and help of its many partners and supporters.  It is set up to be an outward facing organisation, and expects to work with many partners as it moves forwards. We believe that this is the best of way of delivering the outcomes we desire.  

The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) has been our most significant founding partner, providing us with not only expertise, but  with the raft of back office support a new organisation requires.  We were delighted to acknowledge this help by awarding Professor Richard Parish, the CEO of RSPH with one of the first two iHV Founding Fellowships during our launch.

Some of those reading the Newsletter may represent organisations with an interest in the work of the health visitor.  Do get in touch if you think that partnership work with  iHV could benefit both our organisations. 


The iHV has a series of upcoming events including a conference, masterclasses and research projects.

Events in 2013 include:

Getting the conditions right for effective practice - 27th March 2013 Masterclass

Healthy Minds, Healthy Communities Conference – in partnership with the RSPH on June 6th 2012

Fore more information on upcoming events visit the iHV website events page at

The Sleep Campaign

The Sleep Well Campaign is the first iHV public health campaign; it is supported by the Royal Society for Public health and Netmums. It  will be launched in Spring 2013 to strengthen health visiting advice to parents suffering sleep difficulties.

For more information on the sleep campaign , see this link on the iHV website

Join us on our journey

Whether as an associate, student associate, retired associate or a friend, you stand to reap immense benefits by joining the iHV as you will be actively supporting and participating in our mission to improve the quality and consistency of health visiting practice. Be one of the first to join us on our journey of health improvement for families.  You may have joined already, in which case your joiners pack will be with you by Christmas.

Click on this link to find out more about joining us
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