Hampshire County Council cuts under fire from health leaders

Posted: 15th July 2021

SENIOR health professionals say babies and children will be put in danger by Hampshire Council funding cuts.

They are pressing Hampshire County Council to think again about its controversial plans to slash its public health budget.

The council proposes to reduce the 0-19 Public Health Nursing Service budget by £2.09 million per year, cutting 47 posts or around 12 per cent of the service.

The cuts would mean fewer health visitors and school nurses and so less support for vulnerable families.

For children 0-5 years, all children will only get one face-to-face health review. All other reviews will be risk assessed to decide whether they should be completed face-to-face, by video or by telephone. In the past many children have received numerous supportive visits by health visitors.

School nurses would see no over-11s in person but only digitally.

In a letter to council leader Keith Mans, Sharon White, chief executive of the School and Public Health Nurses Association (SAPHNA) and Alison Morton, executive director of the Institute of Health Visiting (IHV), wrote: “As the national professional bodies representing school nursing and health visiting, we urge you to review the impact that the proposed changes will have on babies, children and their families. We believe there are several sets of grounds which, singly and severally, mean the county council ought to review these plans.”

They point out the cuts will undermine the Health Child Programme, a Government priority and the council will be unable to assure Ofsted that it is meeting its obligation to safeguard children and young people.

The IHV and SAPHNA say the whole health and social care system is interconnected and changes like these cannot be made without consideration of the wider impact.

They say the cuts like will harm children and create a ripple effect hitting other services like GPs, secondary care, and children’s social care.

 

Source: Southern Daily Echo

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