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County council steps in to save community nurse jobs

1 February 2007

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Lincolnshire County Council are planning to bail-out a cash-strapped primary care trust (PCT) in order to save jobs and services.

Proposals by Lincolnshire County Council could see £2.5m advanced to Lincolnshire PCT to help pay for health visiting, school nurse, district nurse and speech and language therapy jobs up to the end of the financial year in April. Sexual health clinics would also be maintained.

The money would be paid back by the PCT in the 2007-08 financial year under an arrangement sanctioned by the 1977 National Health Service Act.

The proposals have been welcomed by the trade union Amicus, whose Head of Health, Kevin Coyne, said: “We welcome this as a short-term expedient to save vital health services and jobs for the local communities of Lincolnshire. In the longer-term, the finances of the NHS nationwide need to be put on an even keel once more.”

“This is also an act of faith in local democracy. County councillors, who are elected, as opposed to appointed PCT board members, are taking the initiative through their scrutiny committees to fine tune the health needs of their communities. This is to be applauded.”

“We would urge other councillors throughout the UK, who may not be aware that these transfer payments are allowed legally, to take similar action where community health services face the same plight.”

The county council is due to discuss these proposals on Tuesday, 6 February.