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A new way of working for Wiltshire’s Health Visitors

In May this year I led the team who introduced mobile working into the Health Visiting Service in Wiltshire.

The change was part of the ‘roadmap’ that we’ve got for the service. This plan takes us from when we were about 5 separate services into being a single, Wiltshire-focused service. It has completely changed the way we see families in Wiltshire.

Health visitors get more time because of the new system

First, the time savings have been huge. Our workforce is based out of four hubs and it is often quite a distance between the hubs and families’ homes. In the past, health visitors would visit mums and then have to return to the hub to complete the records on their desktop computers. Now, colleagues can complete the records at the visit and don’t have to come into the hub for that.

Mobile devices are reducing stress levels

Colleagues can also use the mobile devices to attend meetings remotely. This again saves time that would usually be spent travelling. It also reduces mileage and creates more time for us to spend with families. That’s the part of the job we all absoloutely love. We’ve all have had to adapt to a completely new way of working. But the feedback from the team has been overwhelmingly positive. It has allowed us all to be much more flexible. And it’s increased the amount of time available to do face-to-face visits. This has had the impact of reducing stress levels and in the long term will help us improve outcomes.

Families really value this way of working, too. Because they can see exactly what is being written on their record and the practitioners can explain what they’re writing, they’re much more involved in the process. Additionally, during visits practitioners can signpost the people they’re seeing to information and resources on our website. Being able to go through it with them in person means families are much more likely to use online resources. This cuts down on the need for paper leaflets which are not only expensive to produce but also easily lost.

Just at the beginning

I’m very aware that we are only at the very beginning of the process. However, face-to-face contact with families is the most important thing we do. So getting it right is important.

Anything that facilitates that process is a positive. This means  being efficient, freeing up teams to give the best possible care to families and keeping reallly good records. And that can only improve things for families.

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