PEOPLE living in Ludlow and south Shropshire are likely to find it more difficult getting support from a health visitor according the campaigners.

Close to half of Shropshire’s health visitors are set to lose their jobs, in a devastating cuts programme set to be rolled out in October, it is claimed by Gill George the Ludlow-based head of the Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin ‘Defend our NHS’ campaign.

“Currently there are around 50 health visitors providing a service to parents and young children in Shropshire,” said Gill George.

“They are now expected to apply for their own jobs, with between 20 and 22 posts to go.

“As part of the same cuts package, the nursery nurses who work alongside health visitors face substantial pay cuts – with pay to be slashed by up to £2,800 a year.

“The cuts to staff numbers and staff pay come as part of a new contract awarded by Shropshire Council to Shropshire Community NHS Trust, the existing provider.

“Behind the usual rhetoric about improving services, the actual agenda here is to drive through cuts of £600,000 a year.

“The health visiting service now comes under ‘Public Health’, with responsibility for this lying with local authorities. Public health spending has been cut by £200 million in recent years, although it is investment in public health and prevention initiatives that could save the NHS money in the long run.”