UPDATE 11 JANUARY 2017
We wrote to the Mayor, Cabinet and Councillors urging them to keep the contracts for school nurses, health visitors and family nurse partnerships with our local Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.
Fragmentation and cuts to these services have already taken place (see below) running risks to safeguarding children. Outsourcing them to other Trusts or private companies breaks up the service, demoralises overworked staff and destroys working relationships built up over years between nurses, Council, GPs and Council. See letter we wrote to Mayor and Councillors here.
COUNCIL AGREES TO CUTS
Sadly for those involved in those services and children throughout the borough, the Council voted through the cuts on Wednesday 28 September.
We know the Council is under pressure from government cut in fudning, but we want our political representatives to speak out against these cuts and not to cover them up as ‘better care;.
Thank you to all who signed our petition, responded to the Council consultation and came to help us lobby council meetings with school nurses and health visitors.
We got great coverage in the South London Press (thank you!) when we handed in the petition.
Handing in our petition on community nurse cuts to the Deputy Mayor on Weds 21 Sept
Dads, mums, children, nurses, doctors, Lewisham Pensioners Forum and our campaign handing in the petition asking the Mayor and Council to reject proposed cuts to health visiting and school nursing services – a cut overall of 20% in an already depleted service. The Deputy Mayor said that points raised by petitioners would be considered in making their decision.
Earlier that week the Lewisham Council Health Scrutiny Committee failed to raise any objections to the cuts, accepting that an ‘excellent plan’ had been put forward. Our campaign thinks this is unacceptable. While we understand the pressure that councils are under due to government cuts, this should not be disguised as ‘better care’.
Dr Louise Irvine, local GP and campaign chair says:
‘The Government pays lip service to public health while cutting the public health budget by £200 million this year, and 3.5% per year from now on. The transfer of public health to local authorities has been a disaster. The original justification was that local authorities have more influence over the “social determinants of health” and that therefore public health should be in their remit. The justification itself is weak – what real power do local authorities have over the main social determinants of health such as housing and poverty? And giving public health to LAs while slashing the public health budget is a recipe for passing the blame for public health cuts to local councils. They in turn just wash their hands of the problem and then try to pretend that the cuts they are making are actually an improvement! They must be honest about it? These cuts are a disaster.’
PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE OUR PETITION TO SAVE OUR CHILDREN’S COMMUNITY NURSES
The council is consulting on plans to cut health visiting and school nursing services, and many other community services.
The consultation finished on 21 August. If you want to read some of the excellent points we put forward to help people fill it out, please click here.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health condemned such cuts in public health services for children – read more.
Here in Lewisham, we almost lost our hospital. We know how important the NHS is to all of us. And because we saved the hospital, we know that if we had never asked, if we had never come together and demanded to save Lewisham hospital, that we might not have it now.
What some of us might not know (or have forgotten) is just how essential children’s community nurses and health visitors are. Council have had a £4.7 million reduction to public health budget by central government. This will mean massive reductions to the local health services that help to keep us all healthy and prevent prevention illness and will especially affect children.
Children’s services are not some non-essential, ‘cuttable’ part of the local health service. They are central to protecting our most vulnerable children from disease and neglect. They provide the bulk of our safeguarding and public health commitments, from cradle to adulthood. It is not the place of Lewisham Council to take these services away from the next generation, it is their duty to demand they are adequately funded.
Please, for the skilled staff, vulnerable children and community, sign this petition, once again, demand to Save NHS Services in Lewisham, and keep your eyes peeled for any actions or demonstrations we may announce.
At a time when the government and NHS England are stressing the importance of preventative and community services:
WE THE UNDERSIGNED OPPOSE THESE CUTS AND URGE THE COUNCIL NOT TO ACCEPT THEM AND TO DEMAND THE RESTORATION OF AN ADEQUATE PUBLIC HEALTH GRANT FROM CENTRAL GOVERNMENT.