Monday News Review

54% of NHS workforce cuts will be frontline staff

The RCN has been gathering evidence about the number of posts under threat in the NHS for nearly a year. It believes there are now 40,000 posts which could close in the next three years, a rise from 27,000 at the end of last year. Most of these will not be redundancies as the NHS tends to rely on natural turnover from people retiring or changing jobs. As part of its latest research, the RCN took an in-depth look at 21 trusts to see what sort of posts were being targeted. It showed that 54% of about 10,000 job cuts were clinical and, in total, more than a tenth of the nursing workforce could be lost in these areas. The union also said it had found examples of services being closed, including rehab centres, detox units and talking therapies. RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: “Clinical staff are the lifeblood of the NHS and it is haemorrhaging at an alarming rate. Many trusts are not being transparent by admitting the proportion of clinical jobs being list. “From our research we now know the truth – the majority of job losses are front-line clinical jobs, the jobs that matter to patients.” – BBC

More than half of the NHS posts being axed in spending cuts are those of doctors, nurses and midwives, it has emerged. The Royal College of Nursing has warned that hospital wards are becoming unsafe as there are just not enough frontline workers to look after patients or prevent the spread of infection. There are also fears that nurses are so overworked they are unable to carry out their most basic duties of care such attending to the needs of the vulnerable elderly. The latest estimates suggest that at least 40,000 posts at hospitals and health trusts will be lost over the next four years as the NHS tries to make billions of pounds of efficiency savings. New figures published by RCN ahead of its annual conference in Liverpool show that 46 per cent of these are nursing posts. A further 8 per cent involve doctors, midwives and other clinicians – meaning 54 per cent of posts cut are frontline workers. These findings sharply contradict the Government’s claim that any job losses in the NHS will involve bureacrats and backroom staff– so patient safety will not be affected. – the Daily Mail

Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing told the Today programme that the Government should be saving NHS money with “intelligent service redesign, not by cutting nursing staff”. “The sad reality is that while the NHS has done better than some other government departments, the fact is that it has to save £20bn over the next four years, that’s 4%. Some trusts are actually having to save 8%, this has never been done in the history of the public services, let alone the NHS. “And the sad reality is that both posts and services are being lost and what we say is that we know money has to be saved, we know that the NHS could be more efficient, what you need to do is to get into intelligent service redesign, not by cutting nursing staff.” – Politics Home

O’Donnell blocked hacking inquiry

Sir Gus O’Donnell, the cabinet secretary, blocked an attempt by Gordon Brown before the general election to hold a judicial inquiry into allegations that the News of the World had hacked into the phones of cabinet ministers and other high-profile figures. As News International prepares to pay compensation to victims of the illegal practice, the Guardian understands that Britain’s most senior civil servant took steps to prevent an inquiry on the grounds that it would be too sensitive before last year’s general election. The then prime minister, who warned Peter Mandelson in 2009 that his phone had been hacked on behalf of the News of the World, wanted a judicial inquiry after new evidence of the illegal practice emerged that summer. – Guardian

Senior Lib Dem threatens to quit over NHS reforms

An aide to Nick Clegg yesterday became the first member of the Government to threaten to quit over controversial NHS reforms. Norman Lamb, a Liberal Democrat assistant whip and the party’s former health spokesman, said the proposed pace of change was “very risky”. He claimed there was no evidence that the flagship proposal — transferring power to buy £60 billion of treatment from managers to GPs — would work, and called for gradual change instead. Asked by the BBC if the reforms were a resignation issue, he replied: “I’ve said if it’s impossible for me to carry on in my position I will step down. I don’t want to cause embarrassment, but I feel very strongly about this issue. And I think it’s in the Government’s interest to get it right in the way that I suggest.” When it was pointed out that it would be destabilising for the Government if he quit, he added: “It would be incredibly destabilising politically if we get this reform wrong.” His intervention raised pressure on Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, to make major changes to the Health and Social Care Bill. – the Telegraph

One Response to “Monday News Review”

  1. Arbeit Macht Fre says:

    Well of course they will be front line staff, the upper class bosses type will of course have large contracts with large redundancy payments.

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