All health visitors are qualified nurses and/or midwives and have undertaken additional specialised training in order to be able to provide the most appropriate support to families.

Every family with a baby or a child aged 0-5 will be offered the universal element of the Healthy Child Programme, which consists of 5 required universal contacts. The five universal contacts offered to all families with young children are:

  • An antenatal contact to meet with you and your partner from 28 weeks, when you will be given your Personal Child Health Record (Red Book)

  • New birth visit at home between 11-14 days after your baby is born. This will include a hearing check for your baby depending on where you live. N.B babies born outside Dorset may have the hearing test done whilst they are in hospital

  • 6-8 week assessment of growth and development – this will include a discussion about parent’s mental health and any concerns

  • 10-12 months review of your child’s development using an Ages and Stages Questionnaire

  • 2-2 1/2 year review of your child’s development using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire

Health visitors can offer further visits if they feel that this would be needed or if you would like additional support. The health visiting team run Child Health Clinics and they will advise you about these at their first contact.

Health visiting teams will assess children’s physical and emotional development and can offer support on a range of issues including feeding, sleep and behaviour. health visiting teams work closely with other professionals such as general practitioners (GPs), midwives, speech and language therapists and school nurses. Many of the services the health visiting teams offer for children and families, such as Well Baby Clinics, Under Ones groups and Parenting Support Groups, are run in partnership with the local Children’s Centres. Please contact your local health visiting teams for details of other services they offer or that they can signpost you to.

As your child approaches school age they will hand over to the school nursing team. If your child has ongoing health needs, these will be discussed with you and the school nurse and a plan agreed to ensure your child’s needs are met when in school. The team can offer signposting to other support services for children with special educational needs.

Please contact your local health visiting team for more information and advice.

Find out who your health visiting team are on the interactive map.

Contact details for Dorset Health Visiting Teams.


ParentLine is a new confidential text messaging service providing parents and carers of 0-5 year olds in Dorset the option of seeking advice from their health visiting team about their child’s health and development via text message.

We can advise and offer support for a range of issues such as breastfeeding, bottle feeding, weaning, sleep, toileting, minor illness, behaviour, parenting and more.

ParentLine runs 9am – 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding weekends and bank holidays) with a member of the health visiting team responding to all messages within one working day.

Parents/carers will receive an immediate automated message to let them know the message has been received which will include the service opening hours, response time and advice on where to get help if they require it urgently.

This new messaging service is being provided in addition to the current health visiting service offer.

Text 07312 277162 for confidential advice and support from a member of the health visiting team.