Staff profile: Debbie Payne

Debbie Payne is A Better Start Southend’s lead health visitor. She tells us about her current work on the Healthy Child Pathway and why universal support is so crucial in improving outcomes for children.

Tell us a bit about your background

I commenced my career in general nursing in 1984, training at the then Southend School of Nursing. I subsequently went on to train as a Health Visitor in North East London in 1990. I have spent most of my career working in Southend, and feel that I have a broad knowledge of the local communities and area. Later on in my career I specialised in working with children and families who have additional needs and parenting. In addition to my role within A Better Start Southend I am also the Professional Lead for Health Visiting for SEPT south east Essex.

What are you focusing on in your work at the moment?

I joined the A Better Start Southend team last October and have been very focused on working with the Big Lottery Fund to look at the enhanced ‘Healthy Child Pathway’ for children – a preventative public health programme for children from pre-birth up to the age of 19, providing families with comprehensive screening, immunisation, health and developmental reviews, along with advice on wellbeing and parenting. We’re focused on early interventions that stop problems developing in the first place, particularly in the early years up to a child’s fourth birthday, a period where 80% of brain development takes place. This early intervention means we can support children in Southend to be ‘ready to learn at two and ready for school at 5’ providing the building blocks for future good health and wellbeing.

What most excites you about the Southend approach?

Because Southend covers quite a small area, there’s a really special opportunity to integrate our services so they are delivered by those best placed to work with a family. In some cases this can mean that parents and their children are able to build long-term connections with one practitioner or a single team. As well as that, the Southend workforce is extremely motivated and well connected, so professionals can work well together, and be really creative in the support they provide. I’m really excited about the opportunities these relationships – professional and personal – offer for delivering real and lasting changes across the area.



Article published January 2017

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