Legacy of late health visitor to fund specialist training bursaries

Birmingham City University will use the legacy funds from Margery Osborn to provide bursaries for health visitors to complete its online programme in providing individualised care for families who have two or more babies from one pregnancy. 

“We hope that the module help address this gap in training”

Dr Merryl Harvey


Ms Osborn, who was a nurse and a health visitor, left money in her will to help improve healthcare training and provision in the city.

Health visitors who gain a place on the course will be trained to develop specialised skills to provide the best possible care for families in the first year following a multiple birth..

Developed by the university and the Elizabeth Bryan Multiple Births Centre (EBMBC), the module is available for health visitors currently registered and practising in the UK.

The announcement comes as evidence reported in a study by the EBMBC last year highlighted that “very few” health visitors had specific training in supporting multiple birth families.

Professor of nursing and family health and co-lead for the EBMBC, Dr Merryl Harvey, said: “The rates of multiple births are increasing but health visitors supporting new families don’t always have specialist training to help families facing the increased challenges of parenting multiple newborns.”

The university said health visitors lacked this kind of training despite the fact that outcomes were widely acknowledged to be “poorer” for multiple birth families.

Dr Harvey added: “We are really pleased to be able to offer a number of fully funded places on this training module thanks to the legacy kindly left to the university for this purpose.

“We hope that the module – which is completed online – will help address this gap in training and help multiple birth families access the best support possible.”

“Health visitors can provide vital support to help prevent difficulties escalating to a crisis point”

Jane Denton 

Director at the charity Multiple Births Foundation and co-lead for the EBMBC, Jane Denton, said: “The practical, emotional and financial impact of caring for two or more babies can be overwhelming for parents.

“Health visitors can provide vital support and early intervention to help prevent difficulties escalating to a crisis point.”

Those applying for a funded place must be available to start the online training module on the 23 September 2019 and be able to provide confirmation of managerial support to undertake the training.

Applications close at 8am on the 31 July 2019 and more information on the module and how to apply can be found on the university’s website.