Polly Toynbee to be new president of Unite/Community P...

Polly Toynbee to be new president of Unite/Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association

28 March 2014

The distinguished social commentator and Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee is the new president of the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA).

The announcement was made today (Friday 28 March) at the 2014 CPHVA Awards in London. The CPHVA is a professional section in the health sector of Unite, the country’s largest trade union. Unite has 100,000 members in the health service.

Ms Toynbee’s presidency comes at a time when the government’s pledge to create 4,200 extra health visitors during  the course of this parliament will come under scrutiny in the run-up to next year’s general election.

Polly Toynbee said: “I am honoured to be asked to be president of Unite/CPHVA at a time when the health visiting profession is receiving a welcome infusion of recruits.

“Health visitors play an enormously important role in the lives of young children and their families. The work they do in relation to child development and well-being, and working with mothers – and fathers – are key in starting to iron out glaring health inequalities that successive governments have failed to tackle to any great degree.”

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “We are delighted that Polly has agreed to be Unite/CPHVA’s president. Over the decades, she has been unrelenting in highlighting the failings of governments in addressing the social determinants of health, and how poverty and low pay are linked to health inequality.

“Her background in researching these factors will bring invaluable experience for our health visitor members and their community nurse colleagues in what is a very challenging NHS environment.”

Unite lead professional officer Obi Amadi said: “Having Polly accept this position is a significant event in the CPHVA’s long history. Her wealth of experience and expertise will be so valuable to the association in ensuring that our members are able to provide the best services to children and families to optimise their life chances.”

The CPHVA has its origins as an organisation stretching back to 1896. The role of the health visitor developed from female sanitary inspectors in factories in the north west of England during the 1860s – the high noon of Victorian public health initiatives. 


For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940

Notes to editors:

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.