Dozens of jobs could be at risk as some health clinics in Hampshire could be shut down for good and several services face cutbacks, it has been revealed.
Health centers such as the Winchester Addiction Treatment Center and sexual health clinics in Alton, Hythe, New Milton, Ringwood and Romsey are at risk of shutting down.
The number of venues offering face-to-face smoking cessation services could increase from 33 to 18, while the number of medical visitors, school nurses and community nurses could be reduced with 47 jobs at risk.
Other services such as the HIV and syphilis self-sampling service and counseling for people with psychosexual problems could be discontinued.
Access to free emergency hormonal contraception – often referred to as the âmorning after pillâ – at community pharmacies may be limited to those under 24.
The measures are those currently being considered by Hampshire County Council with the aim of saving Â£ 6.8million by 2022.
The total number of jobs that would be at risk has not yet been confirmed.
The council said the proposals come as “opportunities to further cut costs are increasingly difficult to find.”
A public consultation will end on August 9, and a final decision is expected to be made later this year.
But concerns have been expressed over the plans described as “a hard blow” and “a slap in the face”.
A worker who is likely to be affected by the proposal and who does not want to be named, said: ‘These cuts poke fun at the public who have applauded for their NHS. They should be outraged by this secret decimation of services, which have provided vital support for decades. These reductions will ultimately cost us much more in human and economic terms. ”
According to official documents, hundreds of residents use these services every year.
Callum Williamson, branch secretary at Hampshire UNISON, said the proposed cuts would “have a devastating impact” on communities in Hampshire.
He added: “The most vulnerable would be the hardest hit. For our members who have given their all throughout the pandemic, it will be a slap in the face. The council must prioritize services for the most vulnerable and denounce the insensitive indifference of the government to what’s going on from top to bottom in the country. ”
According to plans, children between the ages of five and 11 would continue to benefit from the school nursing service, but those over the age of 12 would only be able to access digital counseling.
This move would save Â£ 2million.
But Cllr David Harrison, county council shadow health cabinet, described it as “a drop in the ocean.”
He also said the permanent loss of the Winchester Substance Abuse Treatment Center “will be a blow” and added: “The proposals to reduce investment in all of these essential services raise the prospect of dire consequences.
âYou don’t have to be a public health expert to understand that preventing health problems is far better than the costs involved if you don’t. Once again, we’re seeing short-term thinking. . ”
Councilor Liz Fairhurst, a member of the county council health cabinet, said the council’s public health service is funded by a earmarked government grant.
She added, âThe service has worked hard to reduce costs by improving efficiency, early intervention and prevention, thus limiting the impact of savings on frontline service delivery.
“However, opportunities to cut costs further are increasingly difficult to find and additional pressures mean that an additional Â£ 6.8million now needs to be found.
“In order to meet the savings obligations of the departmental council, the service proposes to refocus its budget to support public health work undertaken more broadly throughout the local authority, as well as to continue to improve the health of the population and provide mandated services.
According to plans, face-to-face smoking cessation services at the following locations could cease:
- Vyne School – Basingstoke
- Shakespeare Health Center – Basingstoke
- Westside Community Center – Basingstoke
- Rooksdown Community Center – Basingstoke
- Alton Rehabilitation Clinic – Alton
- Forest Surgery – Bordon
- Petersfield Hospital – Petersfield
- Hilldene Center – West End
- Wallington Village Hotel – Fareham
- Rowner Health Center – Gosport
- Waterlooville Community Center – Waterlooville
- Ringwood MC – Ringwood
- Princes’ Hall – Aldershot
- Adelaide Medical Center – Andover
- St Paul Surgery – Winchester