The Scottish government needs to boost the number of health visitors by 20 per cent, Unite, Scotland’s largest union, has urged.
Unite, along with other community nursing organisations, said that the Children and Young People (Scotland) bill, recently brought forward by the Scottish government, does not go far enough to address concerns about the sustainability of the health visiting workforce.
The first step should be to enshrine Scotland’s commitment to health visiting in law.
Unite, which embraces the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association, said that the 20 per cent increase in the present workforce of 1,200 health visitors was needed due to the fact that many were reaching retirement age.
Unite professional officer for Scotland Gavin Fergie said: "Unite fully supports this initiative to increase the legislative support for health visitors in Scotland.
“Unite calls on the Scottish government to place health visiting at the centre of its universal health provision for children and families - legislating for this would be a progressive step forward.
“While the government’s support and financing of the family nurse partnership (FNP), which specialises in helping young mothers, are welcome ministers must realise the majority population needs their health needs met too.
“FNP is placing a strain on the universal health visiting service and its practitioners. Action must be taken now if the government’s aim to make ‘Scotland the best country in the world to grow up in’ is to be fully realised.
“More health visitors are required, England has shown the way with 4,200 more scheduled to be in place by 2015 - Scotland needs to respond in a similar fashion by raising the workforce numbers by 20 per cent."
Campaign supporters are urged to sign the petition which will be sent to cabinet secretary for health and well being Alex Neil, as well as the parliamentary committee with responsibility for the bill, asking them to strengthen the legislation.
Sign the 'Scotland's families deserve health visitors' petition
For further information please contact Gavin Fergie on 07980 237024 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.