Scotland’s leading health visitors’ union says the Scottish Government has to keep its promises on fair funding and extra staff if it wants the named person scheme to be a success.
The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) – part of Unite the union – was commenting after Depute First Minister John Swinney announced that there would be a year’s delay for consultation before the scheme would be brought in.
Under the plans, the vast majority of children in Scotland under school age will have a health visitor as their named person.
Gavin Fergie, Unite lead professional officer for health in Scotland, said: “Health visitors play a vital role in promoting the wellbeing of children and families. We have engaged with the named person scheme – but promises made about funding and increasing the number of health visitors practising in Scotland have not been delivered.
“Presently the service is faced with annual cuts at a time is it being asked to deliver more. Without full and protected funding we do not believe that enough new health visitors will be recruited and retained – and that will be vital if this legislation is to work.
“Our health visitors are uniquely placed to help deliver the objective of reducing health inequalities for all children in Scotland but to do this but they need more support from both the Scottish Government and health boards.
“The delay announced by John Swinney means that the Scottish Government and health boards have the opportunity to listen to and negotiate with the profession and we urge them to do so.”
In 2014, the Scottish Government announced that it was to invest £40 million in recruiting 500 health visitor posts by 2017-18. But the union says that will barely cover the number of people retiring and leaving the profession and that there are over 100 vacancies at the moment.
The union also says that the money has not been protected when it has been given to health boards – meaning that the full amount has not gone to the health visitor service.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Unite Scotland press officer David Eyre on 07960 451631. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
The Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association is the UK’s leading professional organisation for health visitors, school nurses, nursery nurses and other community nurses working in primary care. Unite/CPHVA is a section of the Unite trade union which is the largest union in the UK.
Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with 150,000 members across the economy. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.