BBC Scotland News, early this morning, were keen to scare young mothers, the elderly and relatives, with tales of unfilled health visitor vacancies. It reminded me of other early morning nightmares on BBC:
The Power of Early Morning Nightmares and Expectant Mothers: BBC Scotland callously undermines the morale of midwives, their patients, expectant mothers and their relatives, with highly selective and un-contextualised information
The Scotsman and the Herald joined in with
‘Health visitor vacancies up 50 per cent in a year amid ageing workforce fears’
‘Health visitor vacancy rates on the rise as target looms’
That ‘vacancies up by 50%’ bit does sound a bit worrying at first but when you get a bit of context, it fades.
There were 1 448 Health visitors as of December 2017, 12.1% up on 2016. Could that have been the headline instead BBC? If not, why not? Too encouraging I suppose.
There were 144 health visitor posts unfilled in December 2017, up from 93 in 2016. Ideally, they would be filled, but a 10% shortfall, against the background of nearly 160 new health visitors in one year, it looks less than a crisis. NHS England, as far as I can see, do not publish separate figures for health visitors as responsibility for commissioning them was transferred to Local Authorities in October 2015:
How to deal with troublesome targets – pass responsibility to someone else or, as in A&E, abandon them altogether?