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…Darzi oblivious to health visitor cuts

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A Labour MP has claimed that junior health minister Lord Darzi, who is currently reviewing the future direction of the NHS, is oblivious to health visitor workforce cuts.

Terry Rooney, MP for Bradford North, said Lord Darzi was surprised to hear of the cuts – highlighted in a private meeting with party backbenchers.

Latest NHS Information Centre figures show there were 320 fewer whole-time equivalent posts in 2007 than in 2006, meaning there are now only 9,056 health visitors in England.

‘You talk about health preventative strategies and health visitors are at the forefront of delivering them, reducing numbers is stupid,’ said Mr Rooney. ‘[Lord Darzi] found it incredible this was happening but said when the review comes out health visitors would have a high profile role.’

Lord Darzi’s review is expected to be published in July.

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