Released on: 25 March 2021
In response to the launch today by MP Andrea Leadsom of 'The Best Start for Life' Review, Angela McConville, Chief Executive, NCT, said:
NCT warmly welcomes the Best Start for Life review and its commitment to strong, coherent services for parents in the First 1001 Days. This focus has been strikingly absent from previous policy and investment, with sometimes disastrous consequences for parents and babies. It’s encouraging to see the essential services of health visiting, midwifery, breastfeeding support and mental health support central to the plan, working at accessible hubs alongside public and voluntary sector services for families.
With our experience of rapidly pivoting services online during the pandemic, we have gathered huge learning on the use of digital resources to provide support and information and to signpost parents to local and national services. Parents have told us what a lifeline our online support has been, and we welcome the opportunity to further this work in line with the review, blended with the return of much-needed in person emotional, practical and specialist support.
The Best Start for Life rightly aims to tackle the health and wellbeing inequalities that have failed to improve over recent years and have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. The Government’s approach must be multi-faceted: improving the direct services on offer for families; ensuring an infrastructure for those providing services in both the statutory and voluntary workforces; and addressing the poverty and hardship experienced by so many families.
NCT has always worked closely alongside the midwifery and health visiting professions and is acutely aware of the struggles these skilled professionals have undergone during the pandemic. This must be addressed with appropriate investment and a network of support. This will require national and local leadership to ensure all recommendations become a reality for parents, babies and families.