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Posted on 28 July 2011 at 15:08 GMT

NHS: Stop the job cuts at St Helier Hospital

Chris Newby
Photo Chris Newby

Photo Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

Despite management intimidation, an inspiring protest took place outside St Helier hospital in south London on Wednesday 27 July. 100 health workers came out in a lunchtime protest against the potential loss of over 100 posts.

These are mainly in the areas of medical secretaries, schedulers, ward clerks and receptionists. Kevin O'Brien, the Epsom/St Helier Unison union branch secretary explained that roughly 4,600 staff work for Epsom and St Helier University hospitals trusts.

Of these, 762 of them are casual staff who face the sack. He said any job loss is unacceptable.

Photo Chris Newby

Photo Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

Local staff still cannot understand how the trust has gone from a 3 million 'surplus' in April this year to a situation a few weeks later of announcing up to 45 million of cuts.

An executive member of the London regional council of the British Medical Association (BMA, the doctors' organisation) explained the vital role that these staff play.

He said that these workers "humanise the process" of patients' experiences in hospital and that they are indispensible members of a clinical team to help the patients.

Photo Chris Newby

Photo Chris Newby   (Click to enlarge)

Geoff Martin of London Health Emergency warned that these attacks could also involve St Helier hospital becoming a satellite hospital of St Georges in Tooting, south London, with all the job losses that that would mean.

Those present are determined to continue to fight to defend jobs and services and a further protest is planned on Wednesday 3 August at Epsom hospital.

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