Threat to school nurse jobs in Birmingham

31 May 2018

Unite warns that vulnerable children could be hit by the threat to axe a ‘significant’ number of school nurse jobs by the Birmingham School Advisory Service.

A cash-strapped Birmingham city council, the commissioner of these services for school-aged children, is understood to be considering decommissioning the current school nurse service. 

The proposed £2m worth of cuts to the service could affect about 170,000 school-aged children in the Birmingham area, starting from July 2018. 

Unite, which embraces the CPHVA is calling for the cuts to be halted. 

Unite regional officer Su Lowe said: ‘School nursing, once again, faces the biggest hit to our community health services and Unite is concerned for the future of this very British institution that has served vulnerable school-aged children for many decades.’ 

Su questioned that without the school nurses, who will attend to children’s health and wellbeing? She added that the occasional measuring of a child’s weight is no substitute for supporting those families with complex needs, such as mental ill-health, child protection and other high impact issues, such as female genital mutilation and child sexual exploitation. 

‘School nursing services are, sometimes, the only access many children and young people have to health services and it is feared the most vulnerable will slip through the net as a result of these significant cuts,’ she said.  

The school health advisory service’s future remains uncertain as the contract ends in July and no decision, as yet, has been forthcoming regarding future commissioning.

Su added: ‘Our children deserve their school nurses and their specialist skills and experience. Our members are devastated by the threat to the services and their jobs – these cuts should be reversed; and there needs to be clarity and transparency on future commissioning.’

Birmingham School Health Advisory Service is part of the Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust where Unite has 600 members. 

Birmingham city council’s budget statement says: ‘We have to make cuts of £53m for 2018-19 and inevitably that has meant having to make some difficult decisions.’