50,000 NHS Job Losses + Cuts to Frontline Locums says the REC

False Economy sent Freedom of Information requests to NHS Trusts across the country asking for ‘confirmed, proposed or potential’ job losses over the next four years. They found that:

  • 1,013 full time staff are set to be cut between 2010 and 2015 at the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, including 50 doctors and dental staff, 270 nurses, midwives and health visitors
  • 682 full time posts will be cut between 2010 and 2013 at the Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • 1,349 (22.5% of total staff) will be cut between 2011 and 2015 at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust
  • 1,600 jobs are to go at the Heart of England NHS Trust which runs hospitals in Birmingham, Solihull and South Staffordshire

In response to the findings Peter Carter, the Chief Executive of the Royal College of Nursing said that \”We are constantly monitoring the situation and given the recent spate of job losses across the health service, it seems obvious that this figure is now increasing. We know that many trusts are facing financial difficulties but cutting jobs and services is never the answer.\” And Labours Shadow Health Secretary, John Healey, went on to attack the Government by saying that \”The government is piling extra pressure on the NHS with its huge, high-cost reorganisation and by breaking the prime minister\’s pledge to give the NHS a real rise in funding next year. The Tory-led government has asked parliament to vote an extra £1.8bn to pay for its big reorganisation of NHS management. This is wasted money which could pay for almost 15,000 nurses for the next three years.\”

Speaking further to the reported cuts the REC’s Healthcare Policy Advisor, Ed McRandal, said that “Whilst the focus this week has been on the predicted 50,000 jobs losses, these figures do not tell the full story. The slashing of agency budgets is already impacting on thousands of flexible staff who provide essential patient care to front line services. Temporary staff are the hidden casualty of NHS cuts. As well as impacting on individual workers, the lack of effective staffing arrangements is increasingly compromising patient care and creating excessive caseloads for remaining staff. Rather than seeing agency costs as an easy target, we need to look at ways of enhancing the contribution that recruitment professionals can bring to an increasingly streamlined NHS. Specialised healthcare provide qualified professionals to cover sickness, absence or changes in demand- preventing standards of service from slipping. Private sector organisations recognise agency work as an intrinsic part of a modern and cost-effective resourcing strategy.  This should be replicated in the public sector.”

Only a few weeks ago hundreds of protestors gathered outside the houses of Parliament in an organised demonstration against the Coalition Governments proposals to drastically reform the National Health Service (NHS). The protesters carried estate agency signs bearing the message “NHS, Not for Sale”. At the time Trade Union bosses sounded ‘apocalyptic’ warnings ahead of a second debate on the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.

The General Secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said that \”This Bill is heading for trouble. The YouGov poll shows a clear split between Liberal Democrat and Conservative supporters. There is very weak support from Conservative voters and clear opposition from Liberal Democrats. The fact is there is very little support for this Bill from anywhere. Many GPs are opposed to it, as are patients, NHS staff, clinicians, charities, think tanks, MPs and unions. The Government\’s vanity project is undemocratic, unaffordable and unnecessary. The NHS is already under severe financial pressure because of Government demands to make £20 billion in so-called efficiency savings. This titanic reorganisation threatens to sink the NHS. The Government should step back from the brink and pronounce this Bill DOA – dead on arrival.\”

Although the National Health Service budget has been ring fenced during the course of this Parliament that does not mean that large official budget cuts will have to take place in the future. Many NHS Trusts are simply getting their houses in order for a far lower budget in the future. Many believe that in the long term restructuring the NHS will help to make drastic savings however modern systems must also be implemented in Health IT. As well as this the public should be notified of the cost of health treatments (e.g. receiving a notice saying how much a consultation or scan cost the NHS for example).

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