The importance of a more focused Government approach to Family Hubs was raised in the House of Commons yesterday as Andrea Leadsom (appointed by the Prime Minister to lead a major review into Early Years) opened a Westminster Hall debate about ‘the provision of healthcare support services in the period between conception and age two.’
The importance of an integrated and supportive approach to early help health service provision, as provided by Family Hubs, was clearly and repeatedly recognised throughout the debate. Specifically, Fiona Bruce MP highlighted the need for a ‘team around the family approach’ coupling investment in health professionals, such as GPs and mental health specialists, working with social workers and professionals in early years settings. Their goal should be ‘supporting, not supplanting parents, but signposting them to the most appropriate services and ensuring that they are accessible when needed. We need a national roll-out, national guidance and national scrutiny to ensure that it is being delivered, but it should be implemented locally and governed by local circumstances.’
The Family Hubs Network and our vision to be UK-wide also received a welcome shout out during the debate from Fiona who acknowledged that ‘the Family Hubs Network was established to share best practice and drive the family hubs movement across the country. The movement is characterised by an understanding of the importance of early help and provision; by a relational approach, adopted by everyone who works in the hub; and by a whole-family approach, so that families have somewhere they know they can go to get information, advice or guidance.’
In total, Family Hubs was mentioned 18 times by five different MPs during the debate including the Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, Jo Churchill, who promised family hubs will be ‘integral to ensuring that [the Government] delivers properly for families’ and will inform the Government’s next steps. Prioritising the Family Hubs model clearly emerged from the debate as key to providing more integrated, and effective support services.