Health Visiting Service - Dorset Healthcare

Our health visiting service provides information, advice and support to pregnant women, expectant fathers and parents of new babies and young children.

Health visitors are specialists in nursing and/or midwifery. They work with parents and families to ensure the physical and emotional wellbeing of children up to the age of five, covering antenatal support, immunisation, parenting support, health checks and development reviews.

We provide services across Dorset, seeing people at home as well as at GP surgeries, children’s centres and local community clinics or health centres. Group sessions – such as parenting advice and under 1s groups – are also available in a range of community settings.

Our teams liaise closely with GPs and other children’s services, and can put people in touch with other agencies if more specialist support is required.

All pregnant women will receive a visit from a health visitor from 30 weeks of pregnancy. Parents with babies and children under the age of five who transfer into the area and/or change their GP will be contacted by a member of the team soon after registering with a GP.

If you need to speak to your health visitor outside of the routine checks, or want to find out more about what support is available in your area, please get in touch.

Contact your Local Health Visiting Team

Telephone Contact Numbers for Health Visiting Teams Across Dorset

  • Bournemouth & Christchurch Hub
    01305 363043

  • Dorchester
    01305 361071

  • Chesil
    01305 361071

  • Bridport
    01305 361071

  • Sherborne
    01305 361071

  • Shaftesbury
    01305 361071

  • Blandford
    01305 361071

  • Gillingham
    01305 361071

  • Sturminster Newton
    01305 361071

  • Poole Hub
    01202 646425

  • Dorset East & Purbeck Hub
    01929 557593


If you have any feedback you would like to give us, please fill out this form.

If you feel that we have not given you the care you expected or needed, our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can help. They can also help if you wish to make a complaint. You normally have about a year to do this*. Making a complaint will not have any adverse effect on your current or future care and treatment.

Please follow this link for further information and the ways in which a complaint can be made

*Under the NHS Complaints Procedure, complaints are usually investigated only if they are made within 12 months of the event


For COVID-19 health advice for families, please click here.

Our Health Visiting team recognise that many families will be concerned about how to access health advice at this time.

We also appreciate that many parents may be feeling very anxious about the changes to our day to day lives. COVID-19 will be particularly difficult for those who already struggle with anxiety or depression.

Click here to view helpful advice and links.

Your Top “goto” websites/local information

If your child is unwell

If you are worried about a child’s safety

Your child's development at a glance

Local family information websites

Parental Mental Health – steps to wellbeing

Healthy Families

Information and advice on preventing accidents and injuries in the home

Please remember, you can always speak to your local health visiting team by ringing your local Hub.

Healthy Start Scheme

The Healthy Start scheme is run by NHS England. It provides vouchers for pregnant women and families with a child under four years old on a low income to buy basic food items.

It offers:

  • pregnant women and children over one and under four years old a £3.10 voucher per week
  • children under one year old can get two £3.10 vouchers (£6.20) per week.

The vouchers can be spent with local retailers to buy:

  • plain cow’s milk – whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed. It can be pasteurised, sterilised, long life or UHT
  • plain fresh or frozen fruit and veg (fruit and vegetables with no added ingredients), whole or chopped, packaged or loose
  • cow’s milk-based infant formula milk (stage one) that says it can be used from birth.

Women and children receiving the vouchers can also get vitamin coupons to swap for free Healthy Start vitamins.

You can claim Healthy Start vouchers if:

  • if you’re at least 10 weeks pregnant or
  • have a child under four years old
  • and you or your family get:
    • Income Support
    • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
    • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
    • Child Tax Credit with a family income of £16,1902 or less per year
    • Pension Credit; or Universal Credit with no earned income or total earned income of £4082 or less per month for the family.

You can also claim if you are under 18 and pregnant, even if you don’t get any of the above benefits.

Click here to download and complete the application form. Due to COVID-19 the health visitor/midwife no longer has to sign the form. Make sure you sign it and send by freepost to Healthy Start - the address is on the application form.

For further information visit the Healthy Start website here. You can download leaflets here.


Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding provides your baby with the best start in life.

Research shows that many of the benefits are life long. Feeding your baby breast milk exclusively for the first six months offers the most benefit.

Should you only be able to feed your baby for a short time, any amount is good for your baby. Benefits Breastfeeding reduces the risk of:

  • gastro-intestinal infection

  • Respiratory infections

  • Necrotising enterocolitisurinary tract infections

  • Ear infections

  • Allergic disease (eczema and wheezing)

  • Insulin-dependent diabetes

  • Mellitus

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • Childhood leukaemia.

  • Breastfed babies may have better:

  • Neurological development

More research is needed but breastfeeding may also provide protection for the infant against:

  • Multiple sclerosisacute

  • Appendicitis

  • Tonsillectomy for the mother

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • And for the mother, protection against:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Women who have breastfed are at lower risk of:

  • Breast cancer

  • Ovarian cancer

  • Hip fractures and bone density.

Click here for our free antenatal online course which also covers the Postnatal period

Click here to visit the Dorset Healthcare Breastfeeding Support information site

Physical Health