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Care and support for every young child and their family in Birmingham

student health visitors in beer goggles
Student health visitors use 'beer goggles' as part of a project to raise awareness of the dangers of mixing parental responsibility with alcohol consumption.

A wide range of Birmingham Community Healthcare colleagues, partners and other stakeholders attended an event to promote the extensive range of services that BCHC provides for every pre-school child in Birmingham.

The universal children’s services 0-5s showcase featured a wide range of speakers from within and outside the Trust, including keynote addresses from Professor Viv Bennett, director of nursing at the Department of Health and Public Health England, and BCHC director of nursing and therapies Beverly Ingram, who spoke about applying the ‘six Cs’ of nursing (care, compassion, competency, communication, courage, commitment) to the care of young children.

Other topics and projects highlighted included the Healthy Start programme; working in partnership with children’s centres; innovative examples of ‘added value’ from health visitors in the shape of a child car seat safety project in partnership with Birmingham City Council; and an app to enable parents to access quick health advice and information on smart phones and tablets.

The day also included light-hearted yet thought-provoking presentations from the Women & Theatre Group and an extensive ‘market place’ featuring a wide range of exhibition stands from BCHC teams and partners.

A total of 230 delegates attended throughout the day, including 90 of the student health visitors who are being trained as part of a nationwide drive to expand and improve the support available to families of young children.

Viv Bennett, director of nursing at the Department of Health and Public Health England
Viv Bennett

Opening the event at Birmingham City's St Andrew's stadium, BCHC chief executive Tracy Taylor recalled working as a health visitor in Birmingham and acknowledged that meeting the needs of the city’s children is as challenging today as it has ever been.

She added: “The financial challenges are so great we have to dig as deep as we can and think as creatively as possible about how we can provide the very best service to children and families with the financial and human resources we have.

“It’s not about cutting or lowering standards – it’s about doing things differently and focussing on what is important - on the individual; on people, not process; and on nurturing, not numbers.”

“It is not, and never will be, about lowering standards.”

Liz Webster, BCHC's associate director of universal children’s services, said: “Providing consistently high quality healthcare services for every pre-school child in Birmingham is challenging at the best of times.

“It was very gratifying to see so much evidence of the commitment of colleagues and partners and so many examples of excellent work going on, often unheralded, despite the many challenges we face.”

Click here to read how our health visitors have teamed up with Birmingham City Council and community groups to raise awareness of child car seat safety.