Nursery nurses fear roles will be ‘downgraded’

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Nursery nurses in Boston have raised fears their positions could be ‘downgraded’ and they also have concerns about changes to baby clinics in the area.

However NHS bosses insist they are only at the consultation stage over job roles and that baby clinics will not cease - rather continue to be appointment led but delivered by health visitors rather than nursery nurses.

In an open letter to the Standard, Boston Nursery Nurses feared they faced losing £2,000-a-year if their roles were changed.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the service, insists it would be looking at feedback from a one month consultation which closed at the start of January, and that no decision had yet been made.

Deputy director of operations for women’s and children’s services at the trust, Nikki Silver, said: “A subject of the consultation is the disestablishment of the band four Nursery Nurse role and the development of a new Family Health Worker role, which has been provisionally matched at a band three.

“This will be subject to review after the consultation feedback review has been completed. No one has been given notice of downgrading at this time. However, if this does turn out to be the case staff will receive pay protection for two years.”

The nursery nurses also said the potential shake-up came as ‘managerial posts will be doubled’. But Ms Silver said that, although nurse team leaders were being increased from five to 10, she insisted that ‘there is no change to managerial positions’.

Fears baby clinics were due to close were also denied. However, LCHS said nursery nurses will no longer deliver the appointment-led sessions, but health visitors will.

A spokesman said: “This should provide the opportunity for parents to receive more individualised care planning by staff who have specialised qualifications and expertise to promote health.

“All babies, children and families will receive appointments for the Healthy Child Programme key contacts and, following assessment, families who require additional support will be seen by health visitors.

“These contacts may be offered at the health visitor led baby clinics or in the home, depending upon the nature of the support required and in negotiation with the parent/carer.”

LCHS said that in addition to this there are plans to use the experience of nursery nurse colleagues to deliver group sessions offering further support in relation to supporting sleep, safety, school readiness, introduction to solids and more.