Councils call for public health support from nurses funding

Council leaders have said that the recent £210 million of funding for NHS nurses to improve their training and skills should be expanded to cover public health workers.

The Local Government Association argues that while it is good that investment is being made in nursing, the £1,000 personal development budgets announced in the recent Spending Round should be offered to all parts of the workforce, including health visitors and school nurses.

Public health nurses working for or on behalf of councils help to deliver the Healthy Child Programme, providing vital early support to children and young families in the first few years of life, among many other crucial roles. Better training would likely encourage more people into nursing and to stay in the profession for longer.

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Each and every nurse, no matter who they work for, deserves the chance to develop their careers and improve their learning. It is good that the government is choosing to invest in nursing for those who work in the NHS, but this new funding needs to be extended to include all those other members of the nursing workforce who are based in our communities, outside the health service.
“Since councils took over responsibility for the public health of those aged 0-5 in 2015, health visitors have increased the number of contacts they make with children and families, including offering vital support via schools, nurseries and children’s services. School nurses also provide pupils with a host of health and well-being support through delivering the government’s Healthy Child Programme, covering everything from mental health support, healthy eating and lifestyle advice to sexual health services and immunisation.
“Nurses in community and public health facing roles are as equally important as their NHS counterparts in keeping our population safe and healthy. Therefore this new government funding for continuing professional development should be extended to all nurses to reflect this, as part of our shared commitment to ensure a successful, long term health and care workforce.”