Suffolk: County to take over nursing staff

NEARLY 200 nursing staff and health visitors employed by the NHS in Suffolk are to be transferred to the county council.

The move comes as authorities try to streamline the way they deliver services as part of the government’s shake-up of the public sector.

Suffolk PCT will continue to finance the �6.7 million cost of the staff for the next two and years until it is wound up in April 2013 – but the funding arrangements after then still have to be established.

Cabinet member with responsibility for children and young people Graham Newman hoped the new arrangements would be more responsive and make it easier to work with young families in the community.

Health visitors would work out of children’s centres and school nurses should be more integrated with other county work.

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Director of young people’s services Simon White said: “We have ‘the team around the child’ principle where the person with most direct contact with the child and family leads the care. This will work very well in with that.”

While the move will see the county council’s staffing level increase by 196, there will be no impact on the council’s finances – once the PCT is wound up the cost will either be met by the new GP commissioning body, a national NHS fund, or from additional payments to the council from the government.

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Mr Newman said: “This all fits in with the government’s aim of breaking down barriers between different organisations providing public services.

“We already work with the PCT to employ Dr Peter Bradley as director of public health and this is an extension of this kind of working.”

The move is to be discussed by next week’s county council cabinet and will then be discussed by the PCT – it is expected that the staff will transfer to the county council on April 1 next year.

Staff affected:

132 health visiting staff.

54 school nursing staff.

Six learning disability nursing staff.

Four look after children nursing staff.

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