Suffolk residents are being urged to write to their MP by Unite in a bid to stop a proposed 25 per cent cut to the county’s health visitor workforce.
Unite, which embraces the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), made its call today (June 21) following a meeting yesterday (June 20) with Suffolk county council bosses to discuss their plans to cut the 120-strong health visitor workforce from September 1.
Suffolk has seven MPs including health and social care secretary Matt Hancock who represents West Suffolk.
Unite regional officer Mark Jaina said, “We told the council that it was a short sighted and cavalier approach to a critical service for all Suffolk families and we demanded a formal written response to our document outlining our concerns.
“We think it is grave mistake to reorganise the 0-to-19 children’s services in this reckless manner as it provides invaluable support to Suffolk families, many of them in vulnerable circumstances.
“We did not get satisfactory reassurances from the county council yesterday, so we are urging Suffolk residents to write to the county’s seven MPs, including the health and social care secretary Matt Hancock who has the power to actually do something about the health visitor crisis, not just in Suffolk, but across England.
“We believe that members of the public should join us in resisting this cost cutting exercise – these plans should be ditched.”
NHS Digital figures show there were 7,694 health visitors in England in January this year, a fall of 25 per cent since their peak of more than 10,000 in October 2015 when the Health Visitor Implementation Plan came to an end.
A group of health visitors were also at the meeting yesterday to challenge the council over the proposals which Unite believes will lead to a fragmented service.
Unite has said that the proposal envisaged a reduction in the head count of about 30 from the 120-strong health visitor workforce and feared that those remaining will look for posts in Cambridge, Essex and Norfolk where pay and employment conditions are significantly better.