Defend Children’s Health Services in Barnsley – a message on behalf of local Health Visitors and School Nurses.
On 1st October Barnsley Council takes on responsibility for commissioning (planning and paying for) Health and Wellbeing services for children and young people (0-19).
The service is currently commissioned by the NHS and provided by South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust (SWYPFT) and costs around £6.5 million per year. On 1st October Barnsley Council takes on this responsibility.
But even before it has taken on the responsibility for it Barnsley Council has put the service out to tender, with bids to provide the service after June next year being due in on 5th October.
Apart from the fact the service could be privatised and provided by a company such as Virgin Health the Council have said they will not accept bids to provide the service in the future costing over £4.8 million pounds per year.
That is a £1.7 million pound cut to start with, though the Council also wants the children’s oral health service including as well, and says in the contract it will withhold up to 1.25% of the money due if it pays it’s provider promptly.
Nearly £2 million pounds are being cut from children’s health services by this move, almost a third of what is currently spent. This is on top of cuts to social work teams and Children’s Centres.
We are writing this as the unions representing Health Visiting, School Nursing, The Family Nurse Partnership and their support staff.
You cannot take nearly 1/3 of the money out of the budget without this resulting in a worse service to children and their families in Barnsley and the loss of over 30-40 qualified nurses and support staff.
The Council might think there are some savings that can be made. But this scale of budget cut will leave an unsafe service and risk vulnerable children dying. The children of Barnsley deserve better than this.
Please call upon your local Councillors and MPs to halt the tendering process and to put the money into the service that it needs.
RCN (Royal College of Nursing), UNISON and UNITE representatives in SWYPFT.