The 116-year-old Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) has become the latest professional organisation to come out against Health and Social Care Bill

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The 116-year-old Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA) has become the latest professional organisation to come out against the controversial and pro-privatisation Health and Social Care Bill.

The CPHVA has joined the Royal College of Nursing, the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives and the royal medical colleges, in opposing the bill which has reached a critical point in its parliament journey.

The CPHVA believes that ‘reforms’ will be put the financiers heading private healthcare companies in the driving seat; lead to the fragmentation of services with reduced access for the most vulnerable in society; and a much smaller workforce.

The CPHVA called for the bill to be withdrawn and that there is a period of stabilisation. It is better to stop the bill for the benefit of patients.

CPHVA chair Alison Higley said today: “As public health practitioners, providing frontline services for families and children, and for the frail elderly, we are greatly disturbed by the bill currently being pushed forward by this government.

“Our members believe the ‘reforms’ will have far-reaching negative outcomes for the most vulnerable in our society, and this is the group we have devoted our working lives to supporting.

“The radical changes and reduction to frontline providers are already biting hard and preventing our members from doing the job they came into their profession to provide.

“We have worked with GPs closely for many years and they, too, like us, do not believe that they have been listened to about their legitimate concerns about the Bill.

“One of  the key concerns is that the government has continually refused to make public its risk assessment on the impact of the ‘reforms’, so health visitors can’t make professional judgements about the future care for patients and clients, for example, in relation to safeguarding issues.

“The ministerial rhetoric that staff and the public will influence and chose what health provision will be provided  is a mirage that will never  materialise, as the financiers will hold the power as the government directs that vast savings are made.

“We can already see the impact these savings are having as the high-expertise and more expensive services get stripped out and skill-mix is introduced to save money.

“As professionals, we have genuine concerns that the efforts put into nurse education over the last decade will be in jeopardy by these radical changes being forced upon organisations to meet the requirements of the Bill.

“There has been much negative press about nursing care in the last year and we fear that this  will only worsen with  the continued reduction in the numbers of highly skilled, well-trained frontline nurses. This will result in less well-trained, less skilled and unsupervised staff who are not monitored or performance-managed.

“CPHVA’s membership is not in favour of this bill, as we do not feel it will deliver the positive changes and outcomes that the government believes it can. All we can see is the fragmentation of services, reduced access for the most vulnerable in society, and a reduced workforce.”

Alison Higley’s statement comes as the health visiting profession celebrates its 150th anniversary. It was in 1862 that female factory sanitary inspectors started work in Salford – it was from those beginnings that the health visiting profession evolved. The organisation that has become the CPHVA was founded in 1896.

* UNISON has today called on the government to come clean on the risks of the Bill here


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