Joint letter on Winter Planning: Support to Children and Families, 7 October 2020

A joint letter from the LGA, NHS and Public Health England to Directors of Nursing on winter planning and support to children and families.

Logos of Public Health England, LGA and NHS

Date: 7 October 2020

To: Directors of Nursing


Dear Colleague

Winter Planning: Support to Children and Families

Thank you for all that you are doing in prioritisation and planning as we enter winter with the challenge of rising COVID-19 cases.

We are writing to provide advice in respect of management of services to families as part of this planning.  It is now known that the indirect impact of COVID-19 has been significant for pregnant women, children, young people and families.  There have been increases in safeguarding concerns, domestic abuse, child and maternal mental health problems as well as lost learning time for all children, impacting on outcomes for safety and wellbeing.

Sustaining support for families’ needs to be a priority if short and long term harms are to be prevented, identified and mitigated.

Therefore, we advise that professionals supporting children and families, such as health visitors, school nurses, designated safeguarding officers and nurses supporting children with special educational needs should not be redeployed to other services and should be supported to provide services through in pregnancy, early years (0-19) and to the most vulnerable families.

Where these public health and specialist nurses have specific skills and experience that is required locally (for example, training in ITU) then individual discussions should take place, and if these individuals are redeployed this should be for shortest possible time.

Local authorities and directors of public health as commissioners of the service are very clear that this a ‘front line’ activity that needs to be maintained through the winter.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Viv Bennett's signature

Prof Viv Bennett CBE                                                                                                

Chief Nurse & Director Maternity & Early Years

Head of World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Public Health Nursing and Midwifery

Public Health England  

Ruth May's signature

Ruth May

Chief Nursing Officer for England

NHS England and Improvement 

Cllr Ian Hudspeth's signature

Councillor Ian Hudspeth

Chairman, Community Wellbeing Board

Local Government Association