12th December 2017
By Rashleigh MacFarlane
Cornwall Council has blamed central government for the £400,000 cut to health visitors, equivalent to a 4% reduction in the service’s annual budget.
The Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides the service, has condemned the cut as “unsafe” and warned it poses risks to future generations of Cornish children. The service also provides school nurse visiting, seen as particularly important to children in poverty.
In a statement released this morning (Tuesday) the Liberal Democrat-led council said: “Funding for public health nursing (health visiting and school nursing) comes from the Public Health Grant paid by the Department of Health to local authorities. This grant has been reduced by government by 20% over 4 years with some additional loss of funding from other sources.
“Health visitors and school nurses are highly valued in their work with families and communities in giving children the best start in life. They use their skills in assessment and early intervention; protecting, promoting and improving the health of all children in readiness to learn, go to school and get ready for work.
“We are clear that funding prevention services mitigates against expensive service costs further down the line.
“Cornwall Council has protected public health nursing as much as possible limiting it to a budget reduction of around 4%. The council is also trying to reduce the impact through efficient use of resources, joining up certain programmes and moving towards collaborative integrated working across children’s services.
“Cornwall Partnership Foundation Trust (CPFT), the provider of Public Health Nursing, was informed of the budget shortfall back in May 2017 so that possible savings could be identified to minimise the effect on the service that would be felt by families. We are still fully behind improving outcomes for children and families through assessing the options and their impacts, working more closely in an integrated way with other children’s services.
“Our plans now are to continue to work closely with CPFT over the next few months to examine the opportunities to minimise the effect on families and explore the efficient use of resources.”