Friday, March 17, 2006

Compulsory redundancies signal NHS crisis

According to the BBC the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke-on-Trent has announced that up to 1,000 jobs (from a staff of 7,000) could be cut to address their financial crisis; a £17 million defecit. An estimated 370 of the posts will be nurses and midwives. Vacant posts may not be filled to help reduce staffing and 15 consultant posts could be cut. In a staggering statement of complacency the Department of Health said it was 'reassured services would not be cut.' Staff have been told about 750 compulsory redundancies may be needed.

This is the direct result of the government's determination that Trusts must 'live within their budgets whilst providing patients with better services'! This is nonsense. Under the new system of 'payment by results' Trusts which treat 'too many' people get financially penalised. As a result of the commercialisation of the NHS and the new 'market in health care' efficiency is measured not in terms of the quality of care given to patients but by the balance sheet.

The emergence of compulsory redundancies is a salutory reminder that the government is destroying the foundations of the NHS, and the responsibility of those who support social health care to organise a national campaign against the government's disastrous privatisation agenda.



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