Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Rabbitts’

NHS: demotivating workers risks lives

30/07/2013, 02:05:52 PM

by Sarah Rabbitts

On Thursday 11 July, the axe of Jeremy Hunt, the Tory Health Secretary, fell on yet another A&E. In an impromptu announcement to the House, Hunt confirmed cuts to Trafford General Hospital which even took Kate Green MP by surprise. The Independent Reconfiguration Panel (IRP), Hunt explained, had finally chosen to downgrade Trafford A&E services to an urgent care centre that will be closed from midnight to 8am everyday.

Labour supporters will always be protective of the NHS. Labour created it in 1946, and it’s one of the most formidable successes of a British Labour government. It’s an even greater success if you look at the backlash Obama faced enforcing public healthcare in the US – despite being popular in his first term.

However, this is not just about protecting something that Labour established. The issue is that reducing the wrong healthcare services puts people’s lives at risk, and no one in Britain really wants to live in a country in which we invoice the under-privileged £150,000 for cancer treatment because they can’t afford healthcare insurance. That’s the reality if we don’t protect the NHS.

Under this government, Lambeth’s funding has been cut by 45% in total. This is damaging local authority provided services, like social care and leisure – the services which help the council keep people healthy and out of hospital. In addition, the government has scrapped minimum nutrition standards in schools leading many “free” schools and academies to feed their pupils junk worsening a health crisis that’s already putting a burden on our NHS.

Lambeth’s NHS specific budget cuts have inevitably lead to longer waits, fewer nurses and midwives. In addition, Hunt approved the closure of Lewisham Hospital’s A&E, despite a passionate local campaign. This is now putting massive pressure on King’s College Hospital in Lambeth, who are accepting more patients.

I have advised a number of companies on employee engagement during periods of organisational change. I’m confident that taking away annual salary increases and intensive training will de-motivate workers and will probably jeopardise employee performance in the NHS, and inevitably patient care. Recent reports, for instance, that Healthcare Assistants are being trained with DVD tutorials are also worrying, especially if it is right that these workers will be expected to take on greater responsibilities.


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Childcare needs to be at heart of welfare state

25/03/2013, 03:01:11 PM

by Sarah Rabbitts

When the welfare state was established by the Labour party in 1945, it didn’t include childcare because the role of women was still defined in the home.  In fact, it wasn’t in Labour’s manifesto ahead of the 1997 election either. It must be at the heart of Labour’s commitments ahead of the 2015 election.

Since the 1960s, women’s role in the workplace has changed radically – but there is still pressure on mothers to stay at home because of escalating childcare prices and the gender pay gap. Helen Kersley, from the new economics foundation, confirms that women will still earn significantly less than men, with or without children, and this can deter women from returning to work.

It’s been universally acknowledged that last week’s budget won’t benefit a large number of low-income families. The government has announced 20% tax relief on childcare costs of £1,200 a year for each child from 2015. However, this scheme is flawed and will benefit the better off. The resolution foundation says that only four in ten low income families will receive 85% of the childcare bill from the Government. The foundation’s analysis also suggests that 564,000 low income families will see 85% of their childcare bills paid but more than 900,000 would receive only the current 70% – the rebate which applies when one or both parents earn too little to pay income tax because many women work part-time.

This is a hard message, following the recent announcement that a single nursery worker should be able to look after four babies, below the age of two. Understandably, Elizabeth Truss’s policy was met with concern from parents, childcare providers and industry experts.


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Labour must stand up for victims of sexual and domestic violence

29/01/2013, 10:30:08 AM

by Sarah Rabbitts

Many of us are still shocked by the brutal abduction, gang rape and murder of a female student on a bus in Delhi.

And closer to home, we’re also coming to terms with NSPCC’s confirmation that Jimmy Savile, was “without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across”. The “Giving victims a voice” report states that Savile repeatedly abused girls, women and boys over six decades. The abuses happened in 13 hospitals, 14 schools and on BBC premises – institutions that should have been a safe place for both children and adults. Most worryingly, none of the victims or witnesses successfully exposed Savile’s widespread criminality before his death in 2011.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper responded to the report by asking for a proper overarching review led by child protection experts into why everyone failed to stop Savile and what should be done now”. However, it is not only people in positions of influence who are a problem.

Last week, the ministry of defence, home office and office for national statistics released a joint review into rape and sexual assaults. This damning review states that only one in ten victims will report a sexual assault in this country, despite 90% of victims knowing the perpetrator. It also has to be a wake-up call for the home secretary that only 15,670 rapes are reported each year which only equates to a quarter of victims. In simple terms, this means that on average 47,010 rapes aren’t reported.

What these reports demonstrate is that first, a staggering number of women and men are still victims of sexual assault and that second, the British judicial system continues to generate very few convictions.

On the 14th February, or V-Day, a campaign called one billion rising will actively demand an end to violence against women across the world. They ask women to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence by activating women and men across every country to organise local events. (more…)

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