Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): community child health services - national clinical guidance

Last updated: 12 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 17 Dec 2021

National clinical guidance for community child health services, including health visiting, family nurse partnership, school nursing and infant feeding through the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): community child health services - national clinical guidance
Maintaining services

Maintaining services

Maintaining service provision while responding to workforce pressures

It is anticipated that the capacity of community child health services will be reduced at times as the spread of COVID-19 continues to place NHS services under pressure.

It is vital that community child health teams continue to provide their essential services and every effort should be made to deliver the full service where staffing capacity allows. However, in recognition that capacity may be significantly reduced from time to time, the following sections of this guidance set out a minimum service delivery models should teams come under moderate to high workforce pressures.

Health visiting

At every contact, routine enquiry should include:

  • all parents should be asked about their mental wellbeing and referred for additional support as required.
  • all parents should be asked about money concerns and referred for additional support as required.
  • breastfeeding support should be provided using the COVID-19 guidance on Infant Feeding Pathways
  • assessment of GIRFEC
  • assessment of any child protection concerns
  • risk assessment regarding gender based violence and if not previously carried out carry out routine enquiry
  • continuing to routinely record child health checks and reviews

Normal service provision

Delivery in person of full Health Visiting Pathway.

Moderate-to-high workforce pressures managed locally with contingencies in place

As an essential service health visiting should continue to engage with all families, and prioritise in person contacts with those families with additional needs.

Where reducing visits is required to manage local pressures, a graduated reduction to a minimum in-person visits:

  • antenatal contact home visit at 32-34 weeks
  • 11 – 14 day New Baby Home Visit
  • 3-5 weeks (2 Home Visits)
  • 6 – 8 week CHSP- PS review
  • 13 – 15 month CHSP- PS review
  • 27 – 30 month CHSP- PS review
  • 6 months Review GIRFEC Assessment and Confirmation of HPI should also continue to be undertaken

Family nurse partnership

At every contact, routine enquiry should include:

  • all parents should be asked about their mental wellbeing and referred for additional support as required
  • all parents should be asked about money concerns and referred for additional support as required
  • breastfeeding support should be provided using the Covid-19 guidance on Infant Feeding Pathways
  • assessment of GIRFEC
  • assessment of any child protection concerns
  • risk assessment regarding gender based violence and if not previously carried out carry out routine enquiry
  • continuing to routinely record child health checks and reviews

Normal service provision

Delivery in person of full FNP programme.

Visit-to-visit guidance is available via the NHS Education for Scotland website.

Moderate-to-high workforce pressures managed locally with contingencies in place

As an essential service FNP should continue to engage with all families, and prioritise in person contacts with those families with additional needs.

See FNP guidance regarding staff absence. Where reducing visits is required to manage local pressures, a graduated reduction to a minimum in-person visits:

  • P1 (Home Visit)
  • P2 – P7 (1 Home Visit)
  • P11 – P14 (1 Home Visit)
  • I1 – I6 All Home Visits including: New Baby Home Visit and CHSP-PS review
  • I16 Review GIRFEC Assessment and Confirmation of HPI
  • I28 CHSP-PS review
  • T29 – T33 (1 Home Visit)
  • T40 – T42 (1 Home Visit)
  • T50 graduation visit

School nursing

Normal service provision

Delivery in person of the full School Nurse programme (this will be subject to local measures to minimise infection risks in schools).

Moderate-to-high workforce pressures managed locally with contingencies in place

As an essential service, school nursing should continue to engage with children, young people and families as part of an integrated response to meet their needs.

Moving to a graduated minimum, in person service, prioritising those with significant additional needs.

Minimum in-person contacts

  • to provide continuity of care to children or young people already on caseloads
  • to engage with children or young people new to caseloads to enable relevant assessments to be carried out
  • to carry out health checks on children or young people who have become looked after and/or to continue to provide care to children or young people who are already care experienced

Infant feeding

Normal service provision

Moderate-to-high workforce pressures managed locally with contingencies in place

As an essential service, this can be adapted in line with the attached guidance.

In-person visits should continue to be prioritised, where possible, particularly for new, first-time mothers and where there are clearly identified feeding challenges, eg. early weightloss.


First published: 17 Dec 2021 Last updated: 12 Jan 2022 -