- Conservative election poster 2010
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.
The Royal Brompton hospital in London has won permission for a judicial review of what it argues are “fundamentally flawed” NHS plans that threaten to close its children’s heart surgery unit.
The hospital stands to lose its unit under proposals to reduce the numbers of hospitals carrying out children’s heart surgery from 11 to six or seven. Experts agree that children will be safer if heart surgery is concentrated in fewer, larger units where surgeons are more experienced.
But the proposals put forward by the “Safe and Sustainable” NHS review, run by a joint committee representing all primary care trusts, have outraged the Royal Brompton, which is one of three hospitals in London undertaking this very specialised surgery and the only one earmarked for closure in the capital. Their services would be merged into those of Great Ormond Street and the Evelina children’s hospital.
The Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust has now been granted permission to proceed to a full judicial review later this year by Mr Justice Burnett at the high court. It argues that the process leading to the public consultation (which has just ended) on a number of different closure options was fundamentally flawed.
The battle over the future of Britain’s hospitals intensified this week as leaked government plans suggested it could become more difficult to close failing services and institutions – something that NHS managers say is essential in order to save the rest.
At least 50 NHS trusts are in severe financial difficulty as a result of the unprecedented squeeze on NHS finances as managers struggle to find £20 billion savings by 2014.
In addition, doctors’ leaders say medical expertise is spread too thinly across the country and must be concentrated in fewer specialist centres to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care. This week the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists said consultant-led maternity units should be reduced in number and increased in size. But ministers have balked at the challenge of closing local hospitals and units to save cash and improve care because they fear political unpopularity.
Some managers at primary care trusts (PCTs) are being given payouts of more than a year’s salary, resulting in the six-figure handouts.
At NHS Leeds, one was handed £117,485. At NHS Blackburn with Darwen Care Plus Trust, two have been made redundant since April 2010 on average payouts of £117,284.
And in a third trust, NHS Greenwich in London, 12 employees were given redundancy packages worth on average £83,848.
The figures come from Freedom of Information requests made by the Health Services Journal to all of England’s PCTs, of which just over a third (57) responded.
PRESS ASSOCIATION — Controversial plans to radically shake up the NHS will return to Parliament in the first week after the summer recess.
The Health and Social Care Bill, which was sent back to a committee of MPs after an outcry over its original contents, will complete its journey through the Commons in September.
MPs will spend two days in September re-examining the legislation in the Commons chamber.
Shadow Commons leader Hilary Benn called for more time to scrutinise the Bill, which he said was far longer than the legislation which originally set up the NHS.
He said allocating two days for report stage and third reading on September 6 and 7 was “inadequate”.
Mr Benn said: “The Health and Social Care Bill is three times longer than the 1946 Act setting up the NHS and has now been in committee twice.
“But second time around only 64 of the Bill’s 299 clauses were looked at again.”
The Royal College of Nursing has warned that the NHS in England could lose nearly 100,000 nurses over the next 10 years, with potentially disastrous consequences for patient care.
An independent report commissioned by the RCN has examined eight possible scenarios for the number of NHS nurses in England during the next decade, taking into account training places for nurses and midwives, rates of retirement and overseas recruitment. It found that in the worst case scenario, 28 per cent of the nursing workforce (99,000 out of a current workforce of 352,104 registered nurses) could be lost during the next 10 years.
The research, led by Professor James Buchan from Queen Margaret University, highlights the vulnerability of NHS nurse staffing numbers to policy changes, for example, the reduction in the number of nurse training places and the possibility of many nurses taking early retirement due to changes to their pension.
The RCN is calling for the Department of Health to set out a clear strategy for the NHS workforce over the next 10 years and for a renewed emphasis on staffing levels. Through its Frontline First campaign, the RCN has already identified almost 40,000 posts that are earmarked to be lost over the next three years across the NHS in the UK.
27/11/13 Having received a takedown notice from the Independent newspaper for a different posting, I have reviewed this article which links to an article at the Independent’s website in order to attempt to ensure conformance with copyright laws.
I consider this posting to comply with copyright laws since
a. Only a small portion of the original article has been quoted satisfying the fair use criteria, and / or
b. This posting satisfies the requirements of a derivative work.
Please be assured that this blog is a non-commercial blog (weblog) which does not feature advertising and has not ever produced any income.