CEO of Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Violence Dianna Barran kicked off her opening speech at the inaugral JFHC Live by saying: "If I could only speak at one conference this year it would be this one as it gives me the chance to speak to midwives who are crucial in influencing women's lives".

She added that "you know you're at a health care conference you see vomitting infants and obesity next to you on the bill!" and there were a number of highlights across all the morning sessions.

Independent Advisor on Health Visiting and Public Health Alison Wall told delegates at her seminar sponsored by The Feeding for Life Foundation how the Health and Social Care Bill and the end of Primary Care Trusts actually offers great opportunity for change.

"PCTs will be abolished by 2013, safeguarding is going to change from PCTs and We have to look at the opportunties that we can find to develop our services," she said.

"There is a lot of worry out there. With so many different commissioners and providers we need to look at the child's jounrey and pathways rather than just at the commissioning side.

"There need to be more school nurses and more early intervention work. Children need to know who their school nurses are? We can't compromise on resources - training is very important to give school nurses a holistic view on children."

Alison went on to describe school nurses current workload as "unmanageable" but suggested there was huge potential for them especially in collaboration with health visitors if local authorities get the health agenda right after the new Bill comes in.

After her introduction, CAADA's Dianan Barran discussed how her self start-up charity focuses on the "top end" of the one in four women and one in six men who suffer from domestic abuse in the UK.

The key to their approach is the use of Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences, which she explained were set up "not as a national roll-out strategy but as a human response to two tragedies in South Wales" [read full story here].http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13058300

She argued that "it's not a midwives job to manage domestic violence cases in full so having support services you can trust is key to getting the best outcome."

Finally, Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum gave an impassioned speech calling for the government to act against a problem that will see 60 per cent of Britain's obese by the year 2050.

He argued that "all unhealthy foods should be taxed above the moon" and called for a ban on advertising of sugarry foods after 9pm on television and online.

Problems often begin young according to Fry who suggested that a lack of effective weaning guidelines encouraged bad eating habits from a very young age.

But even more important is educating prospective parents "from the age of 12 up on the risks of being obese for them and their future children".

We'll have more thorough reports on many of the sessions and videos of the speakers on www.jfhc.co.uk across the next few days and don't forget you can follow along live @journalfhc on Twitter with #jfhclive

Posted 29/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com