Unions refute DoH claim that it has met Choosing Health targets

Nursing organisations have derided the DoH's claim that it has achieved the majority of its Choosing Health targets.

In its second 'Choosing Health Progress Report', the DoH marked either 'on track' or 'achieved' alongside most of its targets.

This included the target to recruit a full-time, qualified school nurse for every secondary school in England, despite latest workforce figures showing that it is, in fact, 2,552 nurses short.

 When questioned, a DoH spokeswoman made no comment on the claim the target had been achieved, but said there were currently 3,513 school nurses in post, although she admitted these were nurses without the school nursing qualification.

 Ros Godson, CPHVA/Amicus policy officer for school nursing, said unqualified nurses often took a year to get up to speed with school nurse duties, but were also untrained in issues such as child protection.

 She said she also thought it was 'a bit rich' to claim that launching pilots of personal health plans for children amounted to achieving the target of every child having a plan.

'I think this report shows that while the government has continued the vision in issuing guidance and setting up bodies and pilots, it hasn't happened on the ground.'

Lindsey Hayes, public health adviser for the RCN, said it was ridiculous to claim that all of the targets around teenage pregnancy had been achieved, when the rates in under-16s actually rose last year.

Although the government achieved its target in giving PCTs extra money for Choosing Health targets, 'we don't have evidence that there is a commitment to sustain these targets in the face of PCT deficits', she said.

This was illustrated by the cuts in health visitor numbers and training places when they were key public health workers, she added.

What do you think? Comment below or email healthcare.republic@haymarket.com


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