Hundreds of health visitors are at risk as primary care trusts across the country seek to cut costs, the profession’s largest union has claimed.
The Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) said PCTs were not paying enough consideration to the impact on children’s health of cutting health visitor posts.
The union surveyed 56 of its 129 centres and found that half said their PCTs were planning some restructuring to community nursing services.
CPHVA lead professional officer on health visiting Obi Amadi said the value of health visitors was being undermined because the preventive nature of the work meant its achievements were difficult to measure.
“It’s difficult to say when, but if these cuts and freezes continue, in five, 10 or 15 years time we could see a population which is markedly less healthy than it is now,” she said.
NHS Alliance nursing lead Yvonne Sawbridge admitted that, with PCTs struggling nationally, there was a “real risk” health visitor redundancies could be made.