New parents

Local Government

Suffolk County Council plans to slash health visitor numbers

Suffolk County Council plans to cut more than a quarter of health visitor posts, through a combination of redundancies and not filling vacancies.

These controversial plans have sparked worry for families as health visitors help with early years physical and emotional development, offer parents support with their mental health, and provide advice on breastfeeding and healthy eating. They also play a key role in child protection and safeguarding.

Despite their importance, a report by the Observer shared that Conservative-led Suffolk County Council plan to remove 31 full-time posts from its health visitor workforce, which currently stands at 120. It's believed that the change could be pushed through by September and help the council save £1m from its health visiting, school nursing and family nurse partnership services.

Funding the council recieves from central government has dropped by £5.47m (16.7%) since 2015/16, causing councillors to scrutinise budgets and make cuts to make ends meet. But cuts health visitors could be 'devastating' opposition councillors have warned.

Cllr Kim Clements, Labour spokesperson for Women and Equalities at Suffolk County Council, said: "As a young mother to two small children, I know how invaluable health visitors are to families. These services are already stretched, so I am really concerned that these deep cuts will drive the situation to breaking point."

"If the number of vital development checks carried out by health visitors are reduced, it could mean the difference between picking up a developmental issue or completely missing it altogether," continued Cllr Clements. "I would hate to see the devastating effect on mothers and their young children, if this service was to be reduced even further."

Health visitors play a vital role in the mental health of new mothers all over Suffolk, and are often the people who discover postnatal depression, PTSD and even psychosis. Some mothers will only see another adult when their health visitor checks in.

Cllr Kim Clements, Labour spokesperson for Women and Equalities at Suffolk County Council

Cllr Sarah Barber, an Ipswich Borough Councillor and a children’s nurse at Ipswich Hospital, said: "Health visitors offer such a crucial service for families, providing trusted and expert support that you simply cannot get online or over the phone."

You simply cannot replicate the specialism of a health visitor in the way that Suffolk County Council are proposing - if they then follow through with their cuts to children’s centres, it could create a cocktail of disaster for young families.

Cllr Sarah Barber, Ipswich Borough Councillor and a children’s nurse at Ipswich Hospital

Crime

Four arrested following Ipswich burglary

Read the story

In The Community

Cycling event cancelled due to weather warnings

Read the story

Environment

Ipswich is one of the UK's greenest areas

Read the story
Queen Street, Ipswich

Local Government

More than 1,000 children left in school transport limbo

Read the story

Property & Planning

New 19-unit Ipswich business centre given the green light

Read the story
‘Save Suffolk’s Children’s Centres’ petition reaches over 1,000 signatures

In The Community

New multi-venue music festival coming to Ipswich

Read the story
Police appeal after teenager sustains stab injury

Local Government

Could a new supermarket be heading to Ipswich town centre?

Read the story

In The Community

Two Ipswich parks have again been awarded Green Flags

Read the story

Where do you call home?

Please enter your postcode to continue. We'll remember it for next time.

We use your postcode and cookies to improve our service and personalize our content based on where you live. By continuing to use the site you consent to our cookies and agree to the terms of our privacy policy.