Britain’s largest union, Unite accused the government of making empty promises over increasing the number of health visitors after shock figures released by the Labour party today (Tuesday 17 October) showed a major fall in health visiting posts.
Unite, which incorporates the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA), pointed to Labour’s figures that show the number of health visitors has fallen by 903 since 2016. According to Labour’s analysis 12 per cent of babies have missed out on a new born visit in the most recent period.
The figures come ahead of Labour’s shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth’s speech to the annual CPHVA conference in Cardiff today (Tuesday 17 October). In his speech Jonathan Ashworth will pledge to increase the number of health visitors as part of Labour’s commitment to improving child and health wellbeing.
Commenting Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “These figures show that the Tory government’s promise to increase health visitor numbers are empty and based more on spin than substance.
“Our members continually tell us of cuts to services and the devastation that they are having on families and communities. Labour’s pledge to commit to actually delivering increased numbers of health visitors and giving them the support they need to give every child the best start in life will be music to their ears.”
Unite lead professional officer for health visitors Obi Amadi added: “Health visitors play an important role in early intervention and in ensuring children are school ready.
“Reduce their numbers then you end up putting more pressure on other public services and on the already hard pressed school nursing workforce.
“Any action to reverse damaging cuts to the health visitor service will be welcomed by health professionals with open arms.”
For further information please contact the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665869.
Notes to editors
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.