'Facing the future': the government's real agenda for health visitors.

Julie Greenway, Paul Dieppe, Vikki Entwistle, Ruud ter Meulen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper draws on the ideas of Foucault to analyse the government's recent review of the role of health visitors in England, 'Facing the future'. It outlines the Foucauldian concepts of discourse, knowledge and power and examines the review document following an accepted six-step process for the analysis of discourse. The analysis considers how 'Facing the future' constructs the present and future roles of health visitors, and elucidates the 'regimes of truth' that operate in official policy. It highlights the way in which the document proposes a shift away from health visitors' traditional emphasis on building supportive relationships with clients, toward a stronger emphasis on outcome-oriented service provision by multi-skilled teams. In line with contemporary public health discourse, 'Facing the future' also reinforces the future role of health visitors as being one that supports individuals to make lifestyle changes to improve health rather than addressing wider environmental and social determinants. Although 'Facing the future' purports to reflect a consultative review and to encourage debate within the health visiting profession, its form is more akin to a promotional document to implement government proposals for social change.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)29-32
    Number of pages4
    JournalCommunity Practitioner
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2008


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