WQ81949 (e) Tabled on 19/01/2021

Will the Minister confirm that health visitors are not being redeployed whilst maternity services are ring-fenced during the pandemic?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 26/01/2021

The coronavirus pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges to children, families and the services that support them. The health and well-being of children especially during this pandemic have remained at the core of policy ensuring that they are seen, safe and heard. Provision of support for children and young people has and will remain a key priority.

The Welsh Government issued guidance to the Health Visiting service to support the appropriate delivery of the Healthy Child Wales Programme during the beginning of the pandemic. A range of key contacts continues to be maintained as part of the Healthy Child Wales Programme to ensure all families are supported over this period. This support is provided by face to face contacts and virtual technology such as ‘Attend Anywhere’ where appropriate.

We continue to expect health boards to risk assess all caseloads to identify vulnerable and at risk families in collaboration with key agency partners. We expect the full range of contacts to be maintained where there are safeguarding issues, or where a need for enhanced or intensive support has been identified.

In December, Welsh Government wrote to all Chief Executives of health boards to ask them to risk assess any considerations for redeployment that would impact essential services, which has been undertaken.  Given its importance, Health Visiting was identified as an area of risk if staff were redeployed. Regular monitoring meetings continue between Health Visitor service leads and Welsh Government officials where staffing levels are reviewed.