Northampton blogger and YouTuber Louise Pentland has delivered a petition to Downing Street this week, urging the government to ensure families receive the five health visiting checks they are entitled to.
Louise, one of the UK’s top parenting vloggers, visited Number 10 on Monday, May 16 with the NSPCC to hand over the ‘Fight for a Fair Start’ petition.
The petition, launched by the NSPCC, is pushing the government to ensure all new parents receive five face-to-face health visits minimum - with the same health visitor, where possible - to support families at risk of perinatal mental health problems.
Louise, an ambassador for the NSPCC, said: “This specific petition - ‘Fight for a Fair Start’ - is incredibly poignant to me. It focuses on the need for mental health support for new parents. I have two young daughters so know only too well how imperative this is.
“It was wonderful to spend the day with the NSPCC team and the families they help. Ultimately it's great to see real change and progress in this sector.”
The ‘Fight for a Fair Start’ petition has received almost 22,000 signatures in total.
According to the latest Public Health England data, 19 per cent of babies in 2021 did not receive their 12 month health visitor review by the time they were 15-months-old.
The NSPCC has penned an open letter to Health Secretary Sajid Javid, which has been signed by 25 organisations and several cross-party MPs, urging the government to rebuild the health visiting service and improve access to mental health services for new parents.
A spokesperson for the NSPCC said: “For most families across England, this review is the only check that they’re entitled to between their baby being six-to-eight-weeks-old and two-and-a-half-years old, which is an incredibly important time for parents’ mental health and child development.
“With an increasing number of families missing this check and others, we’re concerned that new parents with mental health issues are being overlooked and left to struggle alone without help.”
The NSPCC additionally held a parliamentary reception for their campaign after their petition hand-in so that MPs could hear from parents about their experiences of perinatal mental health problems and the importance of the health visiting service.
NSPCC’s CEO, Sir Peter Wanless, along with Louise Pentland attended the reception.
Louise said: “Visiting Number 10 Downing Street and the House of Commons on Monday was a whirlwind and a true bucket list moment ticked off for me.
“I have worked with the NSPCC for many years now but I’ve been an official ambassador for a couple of years which has been wonderful.”
The parenting blogger raised almost £40,000 last month in funding for Childline and the NSPCC ahead of ‘Childhood Day 2022’ on June 10.
Find out more about the ‘Fight for a Fair Start’ petition by visiting The NSPCC’s website at https://www.nspcc.org.uk/about-us/news-opinion/2022/five-health-visiting-checks/.