This paper is a critical review of the available literature on specialist community public health policy in England as applicable to health visiting. Some of the more recent position papers along with several research papers on the role of health visiting nurses, their qualifications and skills and the relevant policies will be reviewed. The advantages of health visiting to the target segment and the various challenges faced by health visitors as well the administration will also be discussed to understand the health visiting environment in England. Specialist community health policy in England Despite recognizing the importance of public health promotion and preventative strategies through community settings, public health issues concerning health visiting still remains a subject that attracts much attention. Health visiting may have evolved from simply being concerned with sanitation to addressing maternal and child welfare; it is now being touted as the most essential of services in the realm of public health. Today, health visiting in England and UK as in other countries is being given the importance that it demands. This concept of health visiting primarily focuses on generating awareness among individuals, families and communities as a whole of the importance of ensuring the wellness of both the child and the family (Carr et al, 2012). However, there is an increasing awareness among practitioners and policy makers alike of the need for effective policies and implementation strategies to cater to the demanding and more complex needs of the changing community settings which are more heading towards being multi-ethnic and diverse in nature. There is evidence of a multi-pronged approach to developing health visiting services in England. This can be seen from the initiative by National Health Services (NHS) in gathering evidence base for improving public health based on a three-tier structure that takes in to account the strategic directions set by a board of advisors in collecting the evidence base, dividing the work based on reference group and forming of user panels to establish a framework for evaluation of the evidence base (Bull et al, 2004). The Royal College of Nurisng (RCN), UK’s largest association of nurses, midwives, health visitors and other practitioners has published a position paper on health visiting (“Pillars of the Community: the RCN UK position on the development of the registered nursing workforce in the community”) which has since been instrumental in contributing to the decision of the Department of Health to endorse the coalition government’s pledge to increase the number of health visitors from 8000 to more than 12000 (an increase by 4200) and also the ‘Health Visitor implementation Plan’ set to guide and strengthen health visiting service in the country, as part of the “A Call to action: 2011’ publication that endorses a four tier model: Community; Universal; Universal Plus and Universal Partnership Plus (Health Visiting Services & Public Health Nursing: a consultation document, 2012). Concerns have been raised on the role of health nurses in the community settings where it seemed to take on the role of surveillance more than support to the families of the different communities. However, specialist community
Topic: the opportunities and challenges of contemporary public health policy for specialist community public health nursing Introduction Lowe (2007, p9) notes that health visiting in the UK has legitimacy and combines both nursing and health care for children and young adults and is seen as a means of influencing and ensuring the well being of the families and the community in general…
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8 pages (2000 words)Essay
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