More health visitors for East London

A primary care trust (PCT) in East London is to appoint 24 more full-time specialist community nurses following pressure from health union Unite.

Mother and baby (Photograph: J H Lancy)

The union said that Barking and Dagenham PCT's decision was ‘a massive leap forward for public health' and would go a long way to addressing the health visitor shortage within the borough.

The health visitor vacancy rate in the trust is currently running at 45 per cent and the existing workforce is struggling with individual caseloads of almost 4,000 children.

Unite/CPHVA professional officer Dave Munday said: ‘We are not sure of the breakdown of the new jobs between the number of health visitors and school nurses, but this investment in the public health agenda by the trust following crisis talks with Unite is warmly welcomed.'

Under the plans, the PCT will train nine new specialist community public health nurses from September 2009.

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