Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare Trust has won a prestigious national award by “challenging the world view on health visiting”.
The highly-contested Health Service Journal Award recognises the trust’s achievements in improving services for Hounslow babies, children and their mothers.
Chief Executive Patricia Wright said: “I am absolutely delighted to win such an important award. Our work in this area has been truly innovative. We’ve received a fair amount of criticism by swimming against the tide of traditional ways of doing things, but have had some great results.
“In fact, the judges said we won this award because we challenged the world view on health visiting.”
Three years ago there was a shortage of health visitors in Hounslow and too many agency staff were doing the work instead.
This meant health visitors were struggling to see enough expectant mothers and newborn babies.
They also could not carry out routine checks for every child aged one and two, as recommended by the national Healthy Child Programme.
So health visitors, with Hounslow Council and parents, decided to do something different specifically for local families.
They decided to employ qualified staff nurses to do the new baby check-ups. This means health visitors now have the time to see enough expectant mothers, plus children aged one and two.
All expectant mothers are offered an appointment with a health visitor now. Nearly seven out of ten children are reviewed individually at the age of one and two, compared with four out of ten previously.
In addition, 95% of new babies have their reviews completed within 14 days. Health visitor vacancies have reduced by more than 14% to 7%, ending dependency on agency staff.
The new way of doing things has also allowed health visitors to start a new support programme for parents.
As a result, parents and children are getting a much better service and every family who signs up finds the home visits helpful.
Councillor Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Workforce, Hounslow Council, said: “I am delighted that the team won this prestigious HSJ award.
“The hard work of all those involved has paid off, with families in the borough getting a better level of service from well-trained staff. We are continually striving to improve services even in these challenging times.”