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New report raises alarm as more families struggle to cope with poor health and poverty

The Institute of Health Visiting (IHV) has published findings from what it says is the largest UK survey of frontline health visitors working with families with babies and young children across the UK.

The report titles  ‘State of Health Visiting, UK Survey Report: Millions supported as others miss out’ highlights that 93% of health visitors reported an increase in the number of families affected by poverty in the last 12 months.

In addition:

89% of health visitors reported an increase in the use of food banks

78% an increase in perinatal mental illness

69% an increase in domestic abuse

63% an increase in homelessness and asylum seekers

50% an increase in families skipping meals as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.

Only 3% of health visitors surveyed reported that families had not been impacted by the cost-of-living crisis. Some reported that poverty was so widespread that it had become the norm.

Alison Morton, CEO at the Institute of Health Visiting, said “Consistently, health visitors have told us that parenting has become much harder for many families over the last 12 months.

Health visitors are in a privileged position, they see first hand the struggles that families with babies and young children are facing, often hidden behind front doors and invisible to other services. Sadly, despite policy promises, more and more children are not getting the “best start in life”. And the situation is getting worse with more children falling behind with their development and widening health inequalities.’

Read the full report here.

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Published on 24th January 2024