PEOPLE across South Craven are being urged to have their say as the county council seeks new ways of delivering child health services in the face of swingeing Government cuts.

A massive public consultation has been launched, with a series of online events planned.

The county council currently commissions services from Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust, which delivers the main elements of the Healthy Child programme on its behalf.

But a re-evaluation is taking place in the face of a national reduction in public health funding.

The Healthy Child programme is for children and young people aged up to 19.

Some of the services – such as health visiting and school nursing – are for all children, whilst others are targeted at those in most need.

Dr Lincoln Sargeant, North Yorkshire’s director of public health, said: “We are managing a reduction of up to £4 million in our public health funding from Government over the next few years.

“We’ll protect the Healthy Child programme as much as possible. We will have a universal and targeted service for children and it will continue to be our biggest single area of expenditure in public health.”

Proposals for consultation include mandatory visits to families with children under five at key child development stages to be co-ordinated by a qualified health visitor, and more integrated support from agencies across the health, education, social care and voluntary sectors.

Stuart Carlton, director of North Yorkshire’s children and young people’s service, said: “Because we know that the foundations of a healthy life are set in the earliest stages of childhood, we’re proposing to target resources on supporting children under five.”

Online information events will be held on several dates next month – visit for details.

People can give their views on the proposals by completing a survey at the same website address. The consultation closes on January 4.

Feedback will then be considered by the county council’s executive and scrutiny of health committee and by the Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust board, before any final decision is made. Subject to the outcome of the consultation, it is proposed the new service will begin on April 1.