Community health service jobs at risk as Glasgow City Council agrees £4 million cuts

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More than £4 million worth of cuts to community health services in Glasgow — which will see around 77 jobs lost — have been agreed.

Almost 15 admin roles will be removed to save over £560,000 while up to eight health visitors could go to save another £500,000.

A plan to axe the hospital at home service — which allows people to be cared for at home — has been delayed. This will allow alternatives to be considered ahead of a meeting in June.

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Just over £3m of the savings can be made in 2024/25, but a funding gap of almost £1.55m remains this year. 

When the city’s Integration Joint Board — a partnership between the council and NHS which directs health and social care services — set a budget in March, a gap of £4.7m in community health savings remained. It was faced with a total funding deficit of over £36m.

At a meeting today (Wednesday), board members agreed cuts of £4.034m, with £3.16m to be delivered in 2024/25 and £0.874m in 2025/26. Almost five full-time equivalent council jobs will be lost and around 73 in health services as a result of the latest cuts.

Cllr Jon Molyneux, Greens, highlighted Glasgow City Council has received an extra £7.4m from the Scottish Government. 

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He said: “Around 70% was from consequentials for English spending on social care, so I think there is a very clear case that the IJB should be making to seek at least that share of the funding.”

An official said if extra funding is made available then “because this money is coming from social care, the intention from our recommendation would be that it should be used for social care”. Any decision would be for the board to make, she added.

Cllr Chris Cunningham, SNP, who chairs the IJB, said he has discussed “a list of priorities” with the board’s interim chief officer Jacqueline Kerr. He said services also have “in-year pressures” which also need to be considered.

He later added: “The reality is when you cut budgets then it is inevitable money will not be spent on projects and services that are important. We need to tragically and unfortunately face that head on.

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“We can’t pretend there is some neat trick that will get us out of the situation that we are in, short of a windfall from central government in one form or another.”

A review of the staffing and service delivery structure of primary care and health improvement teams will see ove 13 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs lost, saving over £800,000.

The review of the health visiting service, which will “take account of the fall in birth rate” and “migration in and out of the city”, is “expected not to exceed” eight FTE roles.

Admin support jobs will be removed across children and families, older people and adult services, while six posts in the discharge and resettlement team which works across mental health inpatient sites are set to go to save over £260,000.

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Some sexual health services are under review and three roles are set to be lost as a result, saving £150,000. Three nursing jobs also won’t be replaced to save £205,000 and six positions are set to be removed from the care home nursing team to save a further £363,000.

Margaret McCarthy, from Unison, said officials must share the union’s “discomfort” over the planned cut of hospital at home services. 

She said there is “clear evidence” that “population health in Glasgow is in decline”. “In these circumstances we don’t think it makes any sense to make cuts to services.”

Over the last decade, the “direction of travel for the whole IJB has been early intervention and prevention and now we are cutting services that are designed to do that early intervention and prevention”, she added.

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