Call to action: questions from workplace reps.
Subject: Community health services (Planning)
Author: Munday, Dave
Pub Date: 08/01/2011
Publication: Name: Community Practitioner Publisher: Ten Alps Publishing Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 Ten Alps Publishing ISSN: 1462-2815
Issue: Date: August, 2011 Source Volume: 84 Source Issue: 8
Topic: Event Code: 220 Strategy & planning Computer Subject: Company business planning
Product: SIC Code: 8399 Social services, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom
Accession Number: 263250635
Full Text: At our regional road shows on the health visitor implementation plan--the 'call to action'--lots of issues were raised about how to address local responses to the plan.

We haven't got the money

The plan is one of the very few areas that the government has made clear is a 'must do', not a 'should do'. Organisations have been told to make efficiency savings--these should be used to invest in the high priority areas with the plan at the top of this list.

How can we train new specialist community public health nurse students without practice teachers?

We are aware that many organisations do not utilise staff who are practice teachers. Practice teachers should be supported (including being paid the correct grade) to take students as a matter of urgency. Organisations should not reduce standards in education or expect staff to exceed their agreed job descriptions.

Other staff groups are being cut, so why shouldn't health visitors face the same fate?

Over the last 14 years we've campaigned against the continual drop in health visitor numbers, which has finally been recognised with this plan. The government has promised that frontline services must be protected while 'efficiency savings' are being made. The argument must not be about all frontline services being cut the same, but that all services should be campaigned for in light of government promises. When the number of health visitors was being cut, we never campaigned that all other staff groups should share the same fate.

Staff in organisations must first convince commissioners about their value before any of this investment is made

While local commissioners' understanding of health visiting is important, policy makers have already been convinced and have recognising that this needs to be dealt with nationally. Again, this is a 'must do now' and not a 'wait and see'.

Are there any targets about this for my organisation?

Each strategic health authority (SHA) has been given targets for how many extra health visitors should be employed in their area. Each SHA should pass down local targets up to 2015 to each provider organisation. If you don't know what they are, then ask.

What's the point if there isn't a job for them at the end?

We heard this year that a few newly qualified health visitors were finding it difficult to find jobs, but once we raised this with the Department of Health (DH) posts were quickly identified for them. The idea is to have more health visitors employed--we expect that all students trained during the plan should have jobs at the end.

I'm concerned about some of the activity of my employer related to the plan--what can I do?

As is the case normally, if you are a member, discuss concerns with your local workplace representative. Since we are also monitoring and following up concerns directly with the DH, we would also be interested to hear these concerns at national level, please email: dave.munday@unitetheunion.org

Dave Munday, Unite/CPHVA professional officer
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