More than four in every 10 health visitors in England feel so stretched they “fear a tragedy” at some point, research has found. A survey of more than 1,200 health visitors found that 43 per cent believed they may not recognise a child in need until it’s too late as a result of rising demands in recent years. The findings showed health visitors are increasingly having to deliver “child protection social work-by-proxy” due to increasing child protection thresholds within children’s services departments. The Institute of Health Visiting (IHV), which conducted the annual study, has previously warned that health visitor numbers are below safe levels, with the health visitor survey report showing numbers have dropped below levels in 2011 when the government introduced a new scheme that boosted numbers by more than 2,400. At the time in January 2011 there were 7,906 health visitors, rising to 10,309 by the end of the health visitor implementation plan in October 2015. By July this year levels had dropped back down to 7,852. Read More.