Healthy Start aims to improve nutritional health of pregnant women and children under the age of four in low income families. Vouchers are provided that can be exchanged for plain, fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables, milk and infant milk formula.
Coupons for women’s vitamin tablets and children’s vitamin drops are also available which can be redeemed at NHS outlets. Since January 2015, NHS outlets have also been allowed to sell the vitamins to families who are not entitled to them for free.
For more information about Healthy Start and Healthy Start Vitamins visit www.healthystart.nhs.uk.
Health Start is a statutory scheme governed by the Healthy Start and Welfare Food Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2005. The Department of Health operates the Scheme for England, Scotland and Wales. The scheme is devolved in Northern Ireland though they have chosen to use our contractors to operate their scheme. The Scottish and Welsh Governments pay for the value of vouchers issued and reimbursed for their countries.
The Healthy Start and Welfare Foods regulations place a statutory responsibility upon commissioners of health services in England and Health Boards in Wales and Scotland to make the vitamins available to scheme beneficiaries. Northern Ireland has its own regulations.
Healthy Start is a means tested scheme, determined by receipt of income related benefits. It is available to women who are at least 10 weeks pregnant, families with children under four years old, who are also receiving income related benefits and Child Tax Credits, and anyone who is under 18 and pregnant.