Hartlepool health service set to lose almost £600,000

RCN Northern Regional Director, Sarah Dodsworth.
RCN Northern Regional Director, Sarah Dodsworth.

Nurses in the region have called for a stop to health cuts in Hartlepool.

The Royal College of Nursing is calling for public health cuts to be dropped from the Government’s up coming spending review.

North East and Cumbria’s branch of the RCN wants to see public health spending cuts axed when Chancellor George Osborne announces the Comprehensive Spending Review next month.

In June the Chancellor announced that £200m would be taken from local authorities in January 2016.

The RCN’s Northern region spoke out earlier this year after it emerged around £14million of the losses would be made in the North East and Cumbria.

Now, however, nurses are calling for the plans to be dropped altogether after it emerged the total bill to the NHS could be over £1billion.

The cuts the Government proposes to make for local authorities in the North East and Cumbria in January 2016 will see Hartlepool lose £573,000, Sunderland, £1,475,000, South Tyneside, £887,000 and County Durham £3,142,000.

The RCN has signed a joint letter to the Chancellor from the Academy of Royal Colleges calling for the measure to be dropped in the Comprehensive Spending Review on November 25.

The letter says that “reversing the proposed cuts will relieve pressure on our overburdened NHS, tackle inequalities and improve people’s health and wellbeing.”

It also highlights analysis by the Faculty of Public Health which says the knock on cost to the NHS could be in excess of £1billion.

Services affected by the cutbacks could include school nursing and other child health services, suicide prevention and domestic violence prevention, drug and alcohol, sexual health, weight loss support, smoking cessation services and wider mental health provision including befriending services for older people.

RCN Northern Regional Director, Sarah Dodsworth, said: “It is no good for the Government to say they are protecting the budget for the NHS but then to make huge cuts to council-run health services which are there to keep people well and out of hospital. The North East and Cumbria’s NHS will end up paying for these saving many times over.

“These plans will also disproportionately hit poorer communities in harder to reach areas and will make health inequalities worse.

“The RCN is aware of increasing concerns about the prevalence of health inequalities within rural communities and that current funding arrangements unfairly affect rural communities. We believe that further work is required to understand the health needs of such communities.

“If the Government really wants to put prevention at the heart of health care then the Chancellor should think again and withdraw these damaging proposals when he announces the spending review in November.”