Letter: A little help in bringing up baby

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sir: In your leading article 'Nannying and coercion' (18 March), you suggest the establishment of a programme to support parents following the birth of a baby.

Such a programme has been in place in this area for many years, provided by the Health Visiting Service. Every family with children under five is offered a 'named' health visitor working within the Primary Health Care team to give expert advice as requested. This may be on a 'one-to- one' basis, or in a group setting, and can cover any topic that families may find helpful in bringing up children. Health visitor training is aimed at the well-being of the whole family and provides a holistic, research-based approach to the many problems of family life.

Health visitors call on all parents around the 12th day after the birth (the midwife being involved in the immediate post-natal period) and continue this support for at least the first five years, as parents feel they need it.

Despite 'cutbacks' in NHS services, health visitors are committed to identifying health needs and would be particularly proactive in responding to requests for further help in developing parenting skills.

Yours faithfully,


Sudbury, Suffolk

21 March

The writer is a health visitor employed by Mid-Anglia Community Health (NHS) Trust.