Nearly £200,000 worth of agreed cuts to the health visiting service will come out of the budget next year, with a new proposal to combine it with the school health service.

This comes as Lewisham Council anticipates further Government cuts to its public health grant in the coming years.

A £196,000 cut to the health visiting service was put off this year, and was absorbed from elsewhere in the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust budget.

But this was only a one-year agreement, a council report said.

And combining the two budgets could have benefits.

“Combining and extending the contract… for a period of 12 months will provide both stability and flexibility to enable the provider and commissioners to work together to respond to emerging local and national policy developments whilst developing a new service model capable of identifying, prioritising and addressing the needs of children and young people  in Lewisham across the age spectrum,” the report explained.

This comes as the authority expects more cuts, similar to the £642,000 cut for 2019/20.

“The public health team is making preparations in the event that there are further grant reductions of similar magnitude to that in 2019/20.

“These preparations will be brought back to the Healthier Communities Select Committee in October,” the report said.

The school health service provides advice and guidance on safeguarding children, immunisations, nutrition, exercise and healthy living, while health visitors promote the health and well being of families with children under the age of five.

Lewisham has seen nearly £4 million cut from its public health grant to date.

The public health grant settlement for 2020/21 is due to be confirmed in the government one-year spending round this autumn.