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School nurses down 25% since 2010

DECIMATED community health services have seen school nurse numbers plummet by nearly a quarter since the Tories came to power with Lib Dem support in 2010.

The number of school nurses has decreased by an estimated 24.7 per cent since May 2010, the figures to be revealed by Labour today show.

NHS health visitors have also plummeted by 8 per cent, the conference of union Unite and the Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association will hear.

Speaking at the conference, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth will describe health visitor and school nurse cuts as “savage,” resulting in “shameful” national inequalities in standards of care received by children.

He will call on the government to put children first in its long-term plans for the NHS and reiterate Labour’s pledge for additional health visits for babies aged three to four months.

A Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health report revealed earlier this week that child health outcomes in Britain are lagging behind most other high-income countries on obesity rates, tooth decay and mortality.

Mr Ashworth will tell the conference: “Health visitors play a crucial role in caring for vulnerable children and their mothers from the very beginning of life.

"We know that early intervention and the first 1,001 days of life are critical in a child’s development, a fact this government is blatantly turning a blind eye towards.”

He will say the cuts are “another betrayal” of children.

“Today Labour is challenging ministers to reverse cuts to public health prevention budgets and guarantee the NHS long-term plan puts our children first."

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