Should you need urgent health advice please contact your GP or call NHS 111. In an emergency please visit A&E or call 999

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Public Health Nursing Service

Welcome to Devon Public Health Nursing

Our Public Health Nursing Service provides health visiting and school nursing services across Devon. We deliver universal child and family health services, also providing ongoing additional services for vulnerable children and families, and working to safeguard and protect children.

The team is made up of health visitors, school nurses, staff nurses and community health workers.

Health visitors and school nurses are qualified nurses or midwives with post-registration qualifications with additional experience and training and education in child health, health promotion, public health and education.

Public health nursing hubs

Our public health nursing hubs are a single point of contact for families and professionals for all public health nursing services across a specified geographical area. They bring together clinicians and administrative processes for phone advice, scheduling appointments, and triaging referrals and information received.

How can a health visitor or school nurse help?

When you first meet your health visitor or school nurse, you will be invited to complete an assessment of your family’s needs. This will help us to plan the level of service you need.

  • Community – the Public Health Nursing Service will provide information about local services for families and support you to access these.
  • Universal – in addition to community assistance, all families are offered a range of health-enhancing activities through the Healthy Child Programme, including advice and health reviews. Priorities include breastfeeding and the promotion of children’s emotional and physical health.
  • Targeted – responding to any specific concern such as post-natal depression, domestic abuse, child behavioural difficulties. The Public Health Nurse Team can provide individual help appropriate to your circumstances.
  • Specialist – for families who may have more complex issues. The Public Health Nurse Team will work with other agencies and organisations to provide additional, more focused support.

What does a health visitor do?

Until your baby is around ten days old, you and your baby’s care remains under the care of your midwife. Your Health Visitor will arrange to meet you when your baby is around two weeks old, often after your midwife has discharged you and your baby from their care. At this contact, they will undertake an assessment of both yourself and your baby to ensure that our service gives you the appropriate support for your needs.

Your health visitors are part of a wider public health nursing service that includes community health workers and school nurses. Devon public health nursing provides a 0-19 service for children across the Devon County Council area.

In this video, health visitor Maggie Fisher explains the role of health visitors and the support they offer to new parents:


When will the health visiting service contact me?

Where possible, you will be invited to meet a member of our public health nursing team whilst still pregnant. If we are not able to meet with you whilst pregnant, we will contact you a few days after your baby is born to arrange for a member of our team to visit you. This visit usually takes place when your baby is around 10 to 20 days old.

We will also see you for a review when your baby is 6-8 weeks old, and again at 1 year and 2 and a half years of age.

Please visit our health visiting service page for more information about our health visiting offer.


Have your say

Help us improve the local information on this website and give us feedback about any contacts you have had with our service by completing the Devon Public Health Nursing feedback form.

ChatHealth Logo

Devon County Council runs a confidential secure text messaging service for parents of children aged 0-19 years called ChatHealth. The service operates Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, excluding bank holidays. All texts will be responded to by a public health nurse (health visitor/school nurse) within 24 hours. Outside of the service working hours, you’ll receive a message back to inform you that your text will be responded to once the line reopens. You can also call our Public Health Nursing hubs on the numbers listed below.

If you are concerned about the safety of a child in Devon, contact our Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) on 0345 155 1071 or email with as much information as possible.

This page was last reviewed on 29-04-2022

This page will be next reviewed on 29-04-2025