Vulnerable young families in the London borough of Greenwich face being left with inadequate support because of plans to dissolve the area’s Family Nursing Partnership (FNP) programme, Unite warned today (Tuesday 18 February). 

Unite, which embraces the Community Practitioners’ and Health Visitors’ Association (CPHVA), said its members have raised the alarm over the impact on teenage mothers and young children if Greenwich’s FNP is lost. 

Despite denials by commissioners in the local authority that the FNP, which is run by Oxleas NHS Trust, has been decommissioned, the service will come to an end on 31 March if the plans go ahead. 

Unite said FNP staff and parent service users were excluded from discussions over its future and called on the council to ensure that the successful initiative is protected from ‘counterproductive’ funding cuts. 

The union added that the lack of consultation over the Greenwich FNP is linked to major service changes that are being ‘conducted without transparency’ because of the confusion surrounding the creation of the South East London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). 

Last month, Unite called on the newly formed group, which will completely replace the CCGs for Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark in April, to make the procurement process for a £2.25 billion pathology contract more transparent.  

Unite regional officer George Dodo-Williams said: “Unite is demanding a meeting with Greenwich council and NHS bosses to discuss the future for this vital service. Since its creation in 2014, Greenwich FNP has delivered year on year results and made a difference to the lives of some of the most vulnerable families in the area. 

“FNP is the only evidence-based programme for teenage mothers in the UK and consists of intensive visiting from specialist nurses with training and experience working with vulnerable young parents. 

“Throwing the Greenwich FNP away would be a travesty that will leave at risk teenage mums and their offspring without the help they need. Any budgetary gains from its closure will be counterproductive and simply lead to increased costs further down the line as the need for support and intervention grows. 

“It is frankly unbelievable that those who run the service and those who benefit from it have not been consulted over the plans for its future. This lack of consultation is linked to serious service changes that are being conducted without transparency because of the confusion caused by the creation of the South East London CCG.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

Greenwich council invited bids to implement the restructuring of its community nursing services last year, however the FNP was not included as part of the bidding process. 

‘Murky’ procurement process for £2 billion London pathology contract slammed

For more information please contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.

Email: ryan.fletcher@unitetheunion.org

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.