A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Nora Pearce, 62, midwife, Kingston upon Thames
I’m going to be there to defend the NHS. I’ll be with a very large group from Kingston hospital, where I work, and a couple of my grandchildren, and we’ll all be carrying two flipping heavy banners.
We feel the NHS is under attack. Before the last election, Nick Clegg and David Cameron used Kingston hospital as a backdrop to say that the NHS would be safe in their hands. But now the government has said the NHS must have £20bn worth of efficiency savings, despite maintaining that no frontline staff will be cut. And at Kingston we have been told that over the next four years we will be losing nearly 500 staff – 20% of whom are nurses and doctors. Now, if that ain’t frontline staff, then what is?
The hospital is saying that no services will be affected. Yeah, right. It is also saying there will be no redundancies. I half-believe that, because it could achieve staff reductions through people retiring. But it ain’t about redundancies: it’s about the service. You can’t run a hospital without the staff. At Kingston, we have 22 consultants, and 214 nurses and midwives. They’re not exactly sitting in the cupboard twiddling their thumbs.
About 100 frontline ambulance posts are to be axed in the capital, it was revealed today.
The positions will be lost as part of cuts affecting about 3,400 staff at the London Ambulance Service.
Tens of thousands of NHS jobs are to go as health trusts struggle with £20 billion of government cuts over the next four years.
Richard Webber, the LAS’s director of operations, expressed concern about losing the posts at a time when paramedics are busier than ever.
NHS satisfaction levels have reached a record high among the public and employees, according to the latest British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey.
The latest BSA survey found that 64 per cent of the British public were either very or quite satisfied with the NHS – representing the highest levels since the survey began in 1983.
The results coincided with findings from the 2010 annual NHS staff survey, which reported record levels of job satisfaction in the NHS. Three quarters said they were satisfied by the quality of work and patient care they delivered, while 90 per cent were happy with the difference they made to patients.
A NURSES’ union has warned that North-East NHS staff are experiencing increasing levels of stress as Government cuts begin to bite.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Northern Region was responding to a national survey of NHS staff by the Care Quality Commission.
While staff still feel they can make a difference to patients, the RCN said cracks are beginning to show and stress levels are increasing.
The government has shown that when it comes to pay in the NHS its prefers the smart Saville Row suit of the bankers to the uniform of a hard-working nurse.
Unite, the largest union in the country, said it verged on the grotesque that the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) was marginalised by the government’s public sector pay freeze policy, while on the other hand, ministers allowed bankers’ bonuses to let rip at the 83 per cent state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).
Unite national officer Rachael Maskell said today (Monday 21 March): ”It is quite clear who wields the influence in the corridors of Whitehall – the well-suited investment banker – and not hardworking public sector staff, who are being made to pay, through higher taxes and reduced living standards, for the financial crisis the banking elite created in the first place.
Patients in NHS hospitals are being fed cheaper food than prison inmates, it was revealed yesterday.
Spending on hospital food has been slashed by up to two-thirds over the last five years, according to official figures.
In some hospitals in England budgets have fallen by 62 per cent – with meals costing little more than £1. That’s just half the £2.10 spent on the average meal in jail.
Three Royal College of Nursing members handed a letter co-signed by nearly 23,000 members to 11 Downing Street, to express concerns about cuts to NHS frontline services.
Salma Bilkis, Lee Thomas and Kevin Takooree were joined by Janet Davies, the RCN’s Director of Nursing and Service Delivery, when they handed in the letter at the official residence of Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.
The letter was handed in as Mr Osborne prepared to deliver his latest Budget. The UK is braced for massive cuts in public services, but the Coalition Government has said NHS spending is ring-fenced.
A Westcountry MP will today come face-to-face with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley in the wake of claims that his reforms risk destroying the NHS.
Sarah Wollaston, GP-turned-Tory MP for Totnes, has warned that the Government is in danger of creating a “Trojan horse” that could undermine the NHS from within.
In outspoken remarks, Dr Wollaston said the controversial re-organisation risked changing the NHS “beyond recognition” and was “doomed to fail”.