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Author: Joan Clarke

A day in the life of... the health visitor

Updated Tuesday, 22nd April 2003

Health visitor Joan explains her job.

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Joan Clarke

Joan Clarke is a health visitor in Liverpool. In A Picture of Health we see her visiting a family in their home and giving a pre-school child some vaccinations.

Q. What is a health visitor?

A. A health visitor is a qualified and experienced nurse who has had extra training in the promotion of health and the prevention of ill health. The health visitor’s role is to promote mental, physical and social wellbeing in the community by giving advice and support to families.

The NHS Careers website provides an outline of the health visitor’s role.

This is the website of the health visitors’ professional association and the same organization in Scotland.

Some local GP practices have very useful websites. This one is part of the main site of the Devonshire Lodge Practice in Pinner, Middlesex run by three GPs – Drs Jenny Allen, John Brewerton and Martin Hall. They have designed the site to help and inform their patients about the practice. This section focuses on the service provided by the health visitors.

This site is maintained by a group of working health visitors from East Berkshire, (Ascot, Maidenhead, Windsor & Bracknell) and is supported by Windsor, Ascot & Maidenhead Primary Care Trust (NHS). It gives information about health visiting and guidance on many aspects of parenting pre-school children.

Q. How safe is the MMR vaccine?

A.This is a controversial topic. There are a number of web sites to help
parents to make up their minds on the question.

This NHS site provides general information about MMR

The Department of Health goes into more detail about the research by Dr Andrew Wakefield’s team at the Royal Free Hospital, which claims a link between the vaccine and autism and inflammatory bowel disease and information about the single vaccine.

MMR The Facts’ provides a range of materials designed to provide both parents and health professionals with the latest information on MMR. It is produced by the Immunisation Information team at the Department of Health (DoH) and contains leaflets and fact sheets, immunisation schedules, an explanation on how the vaccine works, disease information and news items. It also gives an interactive world map providing data on countries that use MMR and countries that don't.

This BBC news website brings a lot of the arguments and evidence together

This is the website of the JABS group, which believes that there is evidence that the MMR vaccine is linked to late onset autism

NHS Choices:
Backpain from NHS Choices 

Sciatica from NHS Choices

Other weblinks:
Backcare The charity for healthier backs

BBC back pain guide

Spinal conditions from the British Brain and Spinal Foundation

The Open University is not responsible for the content of external websites

Take advice

This website is provided for general information only. You should not treat it as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional.

The BBC and the Open University are not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the OpenLearn website.

The BBC and the Open University are not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor do they endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites. Always consult your own GP if you are in any way concerned about your health.


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