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Canterbury and Coastal: Health team responds to children’s centre consultation

User AvatarPosted by B B at 07/10/2013 11:09:13
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NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has provided a response to Kent County Council’s consultation on the potential closure of children’s centres.

The consultation, which came to a close on 4 October, sets out plans to potentially close six out of the 11 children’s centres in the Canterbury and Coastal area. They are: Hersden, Chartham, Littlebourne, Briary (Herne Bay), Swalecliffe and St Mary of Charity (Faversham).  

As part of the CCG’s response, local GPs recognised the financial challenges the county council is facing. They also acknowledged that there is a need to regularly review services to ensure they are providing value for public money.

However, they did raise concerns that the number of children’s centres proposed for closure in the area could potentially have a disproportionate negative impact. As such, they asked the county council to consider the following points:

  • That the closure of children’s centres could result in social care problems and safeguarding issues not being picked up early enough;

  • Without a physical base, services may potentially become fragmented and difficult for parents to access;

  • Children’s centres should be available for all families and be easy to get to;

  • That the proposed closures do not appear to take into account housing expansion plans, particularly in Herne Bay, Hersden and Littlebourne;

  • An increase in the health visitor workforce will not necessarily ‘fill the gap’ of there being fewer children’s centres; and,

  • Closures will not overcome the risk of isolating parents who use the centres as a social focal point.

Dr David Grice, local GP and NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG lead for child health, said: “Children’s centres play an important role in supporting parents and helping to nurture young children. We appreciate that all public sector services are under increasing financial pressures, but the closure of services will make it more difficult for families who need help to obtain early support.  This can result in problems increasing and greater costs to the taxpayer in the long-run.

“We will endeavour to work with Kent County Council to try and find an appropriate solution which minimises the impact of any changes for local families.”

You can now download a copy of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG’s consultation response. For further information on Kent County Council’s children’s centres consultation, visit: www.kent.gov.uk.

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