Two high profile figures have been appointed as vice-presidents of the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) which is holding its annual conference in Harrogate today (Wednesday 16 October).

Labour councillor Sara Rowbotham worked for the Rochdale crisis intervention team for the NHS from 2004 to 2014 and helped expose the Rochdale grooming gang scandal.

Professor Gina Higginbottom was the first BAME nurse to hold a professorial role at a Russell Group university when she was  appointed as the Mary Seacole professor of ethnicity and community health at the University of Nottingham in 2015.

Unite lead professional officer for health visiting Obi Amadi said: “I am delighted that Sara Rowbotham and Gina Higginbottom have agreed to become vice presidents of the CPHVA at a critical time in its history stretching back to the 1890s. 

“They both bring a wealth of experience from their different perspectives and careers that will give a big boost to the CPHVA’s agenda of promoting health visiting and community nursing for the benefit of families and young children.

“Their appointments come when the health visiting and school nursing professions are facing yet another crisis with plummeting numbers in the frontline caring for families, children and young people across England.

“There were just 7,121 health visitors in England in April this year, a fall of 31 per cent since their peak of more than 10,000 in October 2015 when the Health Visitor Implementation Plan came to an end.”

Professor Gina Higginbottom said: “In the 21st century we have an urgent need for the high level-skills and expertise of health visitors and community nurses.

“All families and children in our multicultural, diverse, developed nation state, deserve the highest level of care that health visitors and community nurses can provide to maximise health potential and health outcomes, thereby, contributing to the reduction of inequalities for all.” 

Sara Rowbotham said: “I am looking forward to being an ambassador for CPHVA and ensuring our members feel supported and valued. I hope to champion their successes and fight for their voices to be heard.”

The CPHVA is a section of the Unite health sector. Unite has 100,000 members working in the health service.


Notes to editors:

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.