Save Our NHS Leicestershire (SONHSL) is proud to send its solidarity to the Lincolnshire Health Visitors in their valiant action against pay cuts and changes to their contracts.
Since 2015, more than a quarter of Health Visitor jobs have been cut, but this is the first strike of its kind in the country. SONHSL has pledged £100 to help fund their campaign. We encourage others, including trade unions, to do the same (details at bottom).
The dispute has its roots in October 2017 when Health Visitors were transferred from the NHS to the Tory-led Lincolnshire County Council. Since then they have not received a pay rise – amounting to a real-terms pay-cut of around £2,000.
But this dispute is not just about pay. Health visitors are specialist nurses with four years training. This includes developmental evidence-based advice, supporting maternal and paternal mental health, safeguarding, health promotion and more.
Lincolnshire County Council want to save money by introducing a two-tier health visiting service, where lower-paid “junior” health visitors will no longer carry out the normal functions of a health visitor, putting patients at risk. These changes will also dramatically increase the workload of “senior” health visitors, with similar consequences.
The Health Visitors have taken 14 days of strike action so far in blocks of 48 hours. They are now escalating the action to five-day strikes.
NHS trade unions should follow the audacious lead of the Lincoln Health Visitors. These attacks are part of wider cuts to our health service. Trade unions should help provide a lead in fighting to stop and reverse all attacks on our NHS.
Sign the online petition here: https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/support-lincolnshire-health-visitors
Messages of support and donations can be sent to Unite East Midlands Region, Unit 2, Pride Point Drive, Derby DE24 8BX labelled “Lincolnshire health visitors strike fund”.