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Health visiting celebrating 150 years of public health.

The overarching health visiting structure changed again with the passage of the 1979 Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act. This was the realisation of the 1972 Briggs Report recommendations in legislation as it sought to bring together these nursing practices under one general body, rather than the multiple governing bodies that currently administered them. While the legislation was passed, the Act did not officially launch until 1983, when the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) and the four National Boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were created, leading to the end of the CETHV.

The UKCC maintained the register and dealt with misconduct claims, while the National Boards supervised educational curriculum and the actions of the students taking the courses.

In terms of education, in 1994, health visiting courses shifted from a 51-week programme to a minimum 32-week one as it merges with a post-registration nursing framework for Specialist Community Health Care Nursing.

Then in 1986, the Cumberlege Report came out with the recommendation that qualified health visitors, nurses and midwives be allowed to prescribe medicines for patients. This suggestion was seconded by a 1989 report from the Department of Health, but it took until 1992 for passage of legislation legalising the practice and until 1994 for this to actually be put into practice.

The Medicinal Products: Prescription by Nurses etc Act 1992 allowed health visitors to prescribe from the Nurse Prescribers' Formulary, published with the British National Formulary, which contained a limited list of substances, including mild analgesics and laxatives.

The union also changed during this time with the merging of the Health Visitors' Association (HVA) with Manufacturing, Science and Finance.

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Timeline

1979

The Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act passes. Based on recommendations made by the 1972 Briggs Report, it aims to bring these three nursing practices together under one umbrella, rather than having each co-ordinated by different authorities. To do so, it planned to eliminate a number of these, paving the way for a unified future body to do the job.

1983

The Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors Act officially launches, creating the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) and the four National Boards to co-ordinate training, examinations and registrations of members of the professions. This leads to the demise of the CETHV, the previous regulatory body.

1986

The Cumberlege Report first advocates allowing nurses to prescribe medicines for patients. Along with the 1989 Crown Report from the Department of Health, which seconds the suggestion, this acts as the first step towards giving nurses and health visitors more autonomy when treating patients.

1990

The Health Visitors' Association (HVA), which now has around 16 000 members, merges with the Manufacturing, Science and Finance union.

1992

Medicinal Products: Prescription by Nurses etc Act 1992, inspired by the Cumberlege Report, passes, allowing district nurses and qualified midwives and health visitors to prescribe from the limited list, published in the Nurse Prescribe' Formulary, which included medicines like laxatives and mild analgesics. However, this did not actually come into effect until 1994, when the Medicinal Products: Prescription by Nurses etc Act 1992 (Commencement No 1) Order launches.

1994

Health visitor classes and training changes from a 51-week programme to a minimum of only 32 weeks when it is brought into a post-registration nursing framework for Specialist Community Health Care Nursing.
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Publication:Community Practitioner
Date:Aug 1, 2012
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