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Blackpool better Start to increase Health visitor role

This is part of their £45m Better Start programme, which takes £1m of the overall programme fund to transform the health visiting service seeking to boost the life chances of vulnerable under-fours.

In addition to increasing the total number of visits, meetings will become more parent-driven, with mothers and fathers encouraged to control the conversation and discuss any concerns they may have.

It is hoped the changes will mean more children and families get the support and advice they need and help families develop more open and trusting relationships with health visitors.

"By increasing the number of visits, we foresee parents receiving more support and attention from one-to-one visits," Merle Davies, director of Blackpool Better Start said. "This will help forge a trusting relationship and will encourage families to be more open and confident to discuss sensitive issues. 

The additional visits mean that health visitors will first see families 28 weeks into pregnancy. After birth they will visit children within 14 days and then again at three to five weeks, six to eight weeks, three to four months, and at nine to 12 months.

The final two visits will be a development review at two to two-and-a-half years old, and a school readiness review for three- to three-and-a-half-year-olds.

Parents in Blackpool welcomed the increase in health visits. First-time mother Eva Syrkova said: "My family isn't here, so having someone to talk to and having someone to help is so reassuring, especially with my first baby. I really think the additional visits will be good for building a relationship with my health visitor."

Mother-of-three Chantelle Keefe also welcomed the move: "I like that we can decide what we want to talk about in the visits, it won't just be about weighing or assessments, we can talk about things like weaning or whatever's worrying us."