Claims of ‘more aid for new parents’ by Leicestershire health bosses are more spin than substance and mask cuts to community nursery nurses in the county warned Britain’s largest union, Unite today (Friday 20 February).
The warning follows claims by the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust that more than 100 new health visitors have been recruited thanks to increased government investment.
Unite, which represents health visitors and community nursery nurses, threw doubt on the claims saying the new starters barely made up for a historic shortfall in health visitors because of years of underinvestment.
Pointing to government cuts and an ongoing reorganisation to children’s services in the county, the union went on to warn that the public were in danger of having the ‘wool pulled over their eyes’ in a classic case of ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’.
The reorganisation plans will see 12 full time community nursery nurse posts cut, reductions in breastfeeding advisors and educators as well as jobs being downgraded.
Commenting, stand down officer Mark Pettifer said: “The trust’s claims risk being more spin than substance and need to be put in the context of years of under investment, government cuts to the NHS and proposed changes to children’s services in the county.
“The new health visitor posts are welcome, but because of government cutbacks are being funded by money taken from elsewhere in children’s services. It’s a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul to plug a historic shortfall in the number of health visitors because of years of underinvestment.
“We are seeing yet more reorganisations and redundancies in jobs which are essential to delivering quality care to children and families, on top of the downgrading of posts in school nursing and specialist children’s health visitors.
“With hospitals coming under severe strain because of cuts to hospital beds and demand on GP surgeries growing, we should be focusing on health promotion, primary prevention and early intervention to reduce the pressure.
“We urge parents, families and the public to take part in the consultation on the future of children’s services in Leicestershire and lobby their local councillor and MP to demand the retention of a service with resources to deliver significant health improvements for the county’s children.”
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.