A significant number of school nurse jobs could be axed by the Birmingham School Health Advisory Service in the latest string of budget cuts from Birmingham City Council.
The council who is the commissioner of the service for school-aged children is understood to be considering decommissioning the current service when the contract ends in July.
The union Unite blamed the Tory government’s swingeing reductions to local government funding in England for the cuts that could affect about 170,000 school-aged children in the Birmingham area.
Unite regional officer Su Lowe said: “While Theresa May’s government discusses food adverts and tax on sweets, the reality is that vital face-to-face services for our children in Birmingham face decimation.
“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.
“Without the school nurses, who will attend to our children’s health and well-being? 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 (FGM) and child sexual exploitation (CSE).
“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.”
This situation is made worse because of the uncertainty hanging over the school health advisory service’s future. The contract ends in July and no decision, as yet, has been forthcoming regarding future commissioning.
Su Lowe 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.”
The threat to this much needed service is the latest string of cuts the city has seen over the years as the council moves towards making £123m of annual savings by 2022.