The challenges in child health that confront health visitors and nurses are greater than ever, practitioners have told Nursing in Practice in the Summer 2022 print edition.
Nurses in primary care continue to push for babies, young children, and their parents, to receive effective care, and want more support and investment from the Government to tackle challenges in child health, but the situation is more difficult than ever.
Referrals to an increasingly stretched health visiting service have risen rapidly. And as one health visitor said: ‘We’re also seeing a lack of early intervention because of the pandemic, which means families have got to crisis point before they come into contact with services.’
While demand for services that support families with young children is escalating, the resources required to deliver that support are decreasing, with nurses reporting funding cuts and staff shortages.
The Institute of Health Visiting warns that the health visiting workforce is being asked to handle ‘unmanageable’ caseloads.
Children’s services are being push to the limit, explains Helen Lewis, an ANP in general practice based in the South Wales Valleys. ‘We continued to see children and families during the pandemic, and now we’re seeing more children than even before the pandemic… Some patients also don’t understand why their child can’t be seen straight away – dealing with their frustrations also adds to the workload.’
It’s also alarming, she says, that practices are seeing even more families who ‘can’t afford to fill their fridges up’.
The latest of Nursing in Practice also looks at the plight of the nurses battling long Covid, and the impact that is having on their own health and their careers.
Transgender health is the topic of an in-depth Q&A article giving advice, for example, on the barriers to accessing healthcare all too often experienced by trans people.
We also share guidance for nurses on supporting patients through the current and high-profile HRT shortages, examine factors in asthma inhaler choice, and give an update on contraception in the under-18s.
Plus, Nursing in Practice editorial board member Marilyn Eveleigh argues that over-reliance of recruitment from overseas isn’t the right formula for success for an alarming number of vacancies, at a time when the nursing profession needs strength and stability.