Threat of public health nurse cuts now becoming a reality

Council cuts to budgets for health visiting and school nursing services that are putting jobs at risk threaten to “unravel” recent national efforts to boost the workforce, it has been warned.

Local authorities took over the responsibility from the NHS for commissioning for services for all 0 to 19 year-olds in October. But since then the government has announced a string of cuts to the public health funding it provides to local councils.

Last summer, it announced £200m public health in-year cuts for 2015-16, which it later confirmed would be applied evenly as a 6.2% reduction for each council.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health announced it would decrease local council public health grants by £77m in 2016-17, with additional reductions expected the year after.

Nursing Times has now learnt of several regions where authorities are cutting or reviewing the budgets for health visiting and school nursing, which are paid for out of the public health grant. Due to proposed workforce cuts and reconfigurations, it has been claimed these services could in the future be run at “dangerous” and “unsustainable” levels.

Full story in The Nursing Times 3 May 2016