I’ve been reflecting on the past few months and how so many changes to what I have been accustomed to have taken place.
The big picture is of course Brexit and Trump, each has exposed the worse in us and feelings at least on one side of the argument of anger, concern and profound disappointment.
Personally the widespread cuts to public health budgets and consequently health visiting and school nursing services has compounded this ‘winter of our discontent’.
Currently I am busy campaigning in my local area, initially in an attempt to stop and now to challenge the implementation a new 0-19 service. This includes a health visiting service which has been reduced by almost 25% and a already depleted school nursing service further reduced by 4%.
Posters created for the consultation phase of the campaign.
with thanks to Dave Munday UNTE/CPHVA/MHNA LPO
The trust and local authority responsible for these changes were the same ones that up until my departure from the NHS some four years ago I had been working as a part of and closely with. Indeed my leadership and service improvement roles were predicated on successful collaborative working across those two organisations and ensuring that children young people and their families were at the centre of everything we did – do these cuts represent this? particularly as apparently service user views were not sought as part of the remodelling exercise.
Disregard for staff expertise when the tendering process was taking place in addition to an absence of participation in the development of the service transformation plan has led to a situation where a demotivated and demoralised workforce are now not engaged in the changes taking place around and to their practice.
Of course I appreciate the pressure on public health budgets which local authorities (strapped for resources as a result of funding cuts from central government) have in turn passed on to organisations tendering to provide health visiting, school nursing and associated programmes such as family nurse partnership. However the reductions highlighted above which have been introduced in my area, do not, in my view represent a safe level of service provision and will undoubtably adversely impact on the children young people and families and well as compromise the practitoners who are required to deliver this new service.
The campaign continues, supporting staff as they struggle with poor communication, inadequate planning, lack of engagement in a process that they neither agree with or understand.
Please take a look at our Facebook and Twitter pages which seeks to keep them informed and connected.
As a former colleague of many of the staff Im involved in supporting in my role as local branch chair of the CPHVA , this quote on leadership has resonance for me in describing the current situation. The tender for this service was secured the consequences of that are profoundly worrying as the changes are introduced.