Labour pledges to give every new mum an extra session with a health visitor

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth plans to introduce the mandated health visit when their babies are three to four months old.

Every new mum in England will get an extra visit from a health visitor under a Labour government, the party will pledge today.

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth plans to introduce the mandated health visit when their babies are three to four months old - writes mirror.co.uk

Experts say this is when mums are at substantial risk of perinatal mental health problems.

Mums and babies are now guaranteed five visits. This would mean each get a sixth visit.

Mr Ashworth said that health outcomes for babies and young children in the UK were “stalling”.

Speaking at the Breastfeeding: A Public Health Priority conference in London, Mr Ashworth will say: “After many years of progress, health outcomes for babies and young children in the UK are stalling.

“We are lagging behind most other high-income countries on mortality, breastfeeding and obesity rates.

“The future of health visiting services is at a critical juncture. David Cameron and Theresa May used to boast of their commitment to increase the number of health visitors. Yet we have actually seen health visitors cut by more than 20% in just over two years.

“We must do better in England where families generally receive the lowest level of universal health visiting support when compared to the other UK nations, both in numbers and quality of universal contacts received.”

He will add that under a Labour government, an additional £25 million would be ploughed into health visiting services to fund an additional visit.

Meanwhile, a survey of health visitors released to mark the conference - hosted by the Institute of Health Visiting, Royal Society for Public Health and the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative UK (WBTi) at the Royal Society for Public Health - found that more than a quarter (28%) felt their ability to support breastfeeding mothers had decreased.

Almost 800 health visitors were also asked about the reasons why mothers stop breastfeeding before they plan to.

Around two thirds cited attitudes towards breastfeeding mothers and 58% said a lack of professional support.

Meanwhile, more than half reported cuts to breastfeeding support groups or specialist support services in their local area.

Dr Cheryll Adams, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting, said: “Once again, we quantify the devastating effects of the cuts to public health budgets which started in 2015. We know that this situation will worsen up until 2020.

“Such cuts are so counterproductive to the public’s health.

“Giving every baby the best possible start in life has many benefits for their health throughout the life course. Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial, as a protective factor for an individual’s future health.”

Read more news of London on our site.

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