TWO mums fear they will lose essential services for their disabled children when child healthcare in Wiltshire is privatised under Virgin Care.

Mothers Karen Tilley, 35, and Keeley Cross, 42, claim they are set to lose their paediatrician and may yet lose other essential services for their two severely disabled children.

However, Julia Cramp, associate director for commissioning, performance and school effectiveness at Wiltshire Council denied there would be any changes to the service and all staff would be offered the same terms to stay on.

Mrs Tilley, of Bitham Mill, Westbury, mother of Josselin Tilley, nine, said: “Some of the services we currently receive are going to drastically change. The kids with life limiting illnesses are going to lose the Lifetime service and the award winning service of palliative care.

"I am devastated. I know you can lose a member of staff but to lose everyone all at once. To lose the most important people to you all in one go.

Lifetime services are for children with life limiting and terminal illnesses and is an all-round service in which parents are provided with a nurse to help with various tasks.

Mrs Tilley added: “The Wiltshire Care Commissioning Group did not do a proper consultation. There was nothing in the surgeries, the special schools. They could have contacted the service users.

“We are going to lose the paediatrician and she is one in a million. My daughter has had 19 operations and when you have a new paediatrician that does not know your child it makes it a big difference."

Ms Keeley, of Lincoln Green in Melksham, mother of James Simms, three, said: “I cried when I found out. My child regularly stops breathing and we have been through horrendous things and I know if I ring my nurse they will come up and help us.

"The trust you have in those people is amazing. It is about the worst thing that could happen. Our children are too complex for other nurses.

“Considering this affects a person with a child and all the children across West Wiltshire it has been done in a very under hand way. Ninety-nine per cent of people have no idea this is going on.

But Ms Cramp said: "Everything will stay the same from a service users point of view. The staff who work for Wiltshire Children will transfer to the new service. Everyone transfers on the same terms and conditions. The staff will not lose their jobs.

"There is a choice, people can transfer if they choose to do something else. The package is going to be the same. We have to remember that people change jobs all the time.

"When there is a big change people get worried and anxious and with a big change like this there is often a lot of miscommunication. We will start to talk with staff soon. It is the start of a long process.

"Wiltshire Parent Carer Council help us and they sent out the information. We always work closely with them and they got all the information out. They have been part of the whole process. It is on the website and they invited parents to meetings."

The privatisation of all community child health services in Wiltshire under a five-year £64m contract with Virgin Care was announced last week.

Services including children’s specialist community nursing, health visiting and speech and language therapy – will be transferred to the private company from next April.