Staff losses expected after £300k cut to Blackpool's school nursing budget

The annual budget for Blackpool's school nursing service is being cut from £900,000 to £600,000

The RCN has voiced its concern over a £300,000 cut to Blackpool’s school nursing service budget.

Blackpool Council contracts out its school nursing service to Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, but the council’s public health department has cut the 2016-17 budget for the service from £900,000 to £600,000. 

The cuts mean the trust will provide only limited nursing provision to Blackpool’s 32 primary schools and seven secondary schools.

Staff losses are expected. Specialist community public health nurses and school nurse assistants will be retained, the trust has said. But nurses who do not have a specialist community public health qualification and who work as staff nurses in the service will not be. 

There are 11 whole time equivalent (WTE) band 5 nurses who are at risk and on the redeployment register, according to the trust, leaving the service with 14.27 WTE staff. 

The trust spokesperson said the service will continue to focus on the emotional health and wellbeing of young people and encouraging healthy weight.

RCN senior officer for Blackpool Jonathan Bowker said: ‘We’re very concerned by these proposals. They stem from government funding cuts to public health budgets across England.  

‘About 15% of the national cutbacks are planned to be made in the north west.  

‘The government keeps telling us they want to put prevention at the heart of health care. But these cuts will do the opposite, storing up big problems for the future and make health inequalities worse.’

The trust said discussions are ongoing with schools and Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group to commission services which can no longer be provided by school nurses.

A council spokesperson said: ‘It is important that despite difficult budget cuts to the service, we ensure that the new service is focused on meeting the public health needs of children and young people in the town, improving their health and wellbeing and contributing to better educational outcomes.’

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