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Massive job cuts undermining NHS
Hardly a day passes without another revelation about devastating cuts undermining the National Health Service (NHS). The latest figures are provided by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) which says 56,000 jobs have been axed in the last two years as part of the government's drive to achieve £20-£30 billion of 'efficiency savings'. Some health trusts are cutting up to a quarter of their workforce.
The government, predictably, refused to recognise these figures dismissing them as "typical trade union scaremongering", and instead claimed that only 500 nursing posts have been lost since May 2009. However, in February 2011 one NHS Trust alone, Kingston Hospital, announced cuts of 486 posts, including 214 nurses and 20 medical staff - 20% of the total workforce.
On top of these job losses, the RCN reported posts as being reclassified by NHS trusts to save money, where staff can be expected to perform the same work but for less pay. Government health minister Andrew Lansley couldn't even bother to deny this, claiming he 'wasn't aware' of any downgrading of workers' jobs in the NHS.
These 'efficiency savings' are only part of the picture. Other measures undermining the public health service are the mega-expensive private finance initiative schemes, which have put 22 health trusts in jeopardy of becoming bankrupt, and the move to foundation trust hospitals, which will increase 'competition' between hospitals for resources and lead to more cuts and closures.
As damning an indictment of the Con-Dems' pro-big business, privatisation agenda as these job losses are, Labour has little to crow about as the 'efficiency savings', PFI schemes and foundation trusts were initiated by previous Labour governments.
A leaked NHS report spells out how private companies will direct the commissioning of patient services when 80% of the health budget is transferred to GP consortia under the governments Health and Social Care Bill. A clear admission that the Con-Dems intend to privatise the NHS.
In The Socialist 23 November 2011:
Pensions' strike, N30
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