Richmond and Wandsworth councils have merged health visitor services for parents across both boroughs.

Both councils already work together with a shared staffing arrangement, implemented in 2016 for cost-cutting purposes.

The new service is provided by Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) and helps pregnant women, parents and carers with children aged up to five years old.

The service offers support and advice, aiming to detect issues early, prevent accidents and encourage immunisation.

Councillor Mark Boyle, Richmond cabinet member for public health, said: “As a parent, I know how vital the health visitor service is - providing family services from pre-birth, right through to school.

“Despite huge reductions in Government funding, particularly for public health grants, we have been able to protect this valued and much needed provision.

“Our new offer, in partnership with CLCH, will provide a number of different ways in which people can contact their health visitor and a single point of access for all queries.”

The services include home visits with a named health visitor for children aged up for five years, breastfeeding clinics, baby and child developmental assessments, and antenatal and postnatal groups.

Parents can also use the ‘Health Matters’ and post questions and receive answers within two working days.

It is hoped that by delivering the service across two boroughs, families can make the most of CLCH’s skilled health visitors and clinical teams can share good practice.

Councillor Paul Ellis, Wandsworth cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “The health and wellbeing of our families is vital and this new integrated service means we can offer the best possible support for our children, parents and carers.

“In partnership with CLCH we are transforming local health services to ensure our communities get the full range of provision they need and, most importantly, making a significant and positive difference to the development of our children and their readiness for school.”