Health visitors 'frustrated' over funding and training places

Health visitors were frustrated by the deputy chief nursing officer who could not provide a clear answer for them on funding or training places.

Photograph: iStockphoto/Lilli Day

Health minister Anne Keen pulled out of the annual Unite/CPHVA conference in Harrogate yesterday due to a delayed train.

Relaying Ms Keen's speech to delegates, deputy chief nursing officer Viv Bennet failed to answer tough questions - from new CPHVA president Lord Victor Adebowale, and Unite general secretary Derek Simpson - on the need for more health visitors.

Mr Simpson said he would be putting pressure on Gordon Brown to create more training places for health visitors, after Lord Adebowale spoke passionately about health visitors struggling with over 1,000 clients.

Ms Bennet said workforce modelling was in progress but she could not provide a clear answer from the DoH on funding or training places for community healthcare staff.

One delegate told the conference she felt ‘a strong feeling of frustration' from the ministers' relayed speech that there was no commitment to increasing resources or workforce.

Unite is planning a ‘day of action' on 3 December to protest over NHS staff's three- year pay deal.

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