The health visiting service in Nottingham will no longer face cuts, after a union intervened.
In November 2016, Unite condemned plans to axe up to 38 whole-time equivalent health visitors, which could have translated to the loss of 60 health visitors in total.
‘Following a meeting just before Christmas with the Trust, the threat to the 0-19 year-old service, which employs the health visitors, appears to have receded,’ said Garry Guye, Unite’s lead officer for health in the East Midlands.
Unite said that the main reason for these job cuts was directly linked to the government’s austerity drive to achieve £20 billion in savings in the NHS.
This was compounded by the squeeze on the public health budget controlled by Nottinghamshire County Council. The contract carried out by the trust on the council’s behalf is set to decline from £15.4 million this year to just over £13.6 million in the financial year 2018/19.
According to the Trust, the changes to the workforce are due to the formation of 20 new locally based ‘Healthy Family Teams’. The reduced funding and the requirements of the new arrangement required additional skill mix in these teams. According to a spokesperson for the Trust, this meant significant changes to the existing workforce including an increase in support staff posts and an overall reduction in health visiting posts.
‘The workforce changes have largely been achieved through natural turnover of staff and recruitment to new posts. Following some resignations and retirements since the initial modelling, the number of staff placed ‘at risk’ following the selection process has reduced from an anticipated 38 ‘full-time equivalent’ health visiting posts to just 19 staff members (out of 148 affected staff).