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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 October 2012

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Karen Seymour

Two weeks after Sherwood Forest Hospitals Trust's financial crisis threatened it could run out of cash by January, it emerged that 120 breast cancer test errors occurred between 2004 and 2010. This is causing great anxiety to the women affected and their families.

Hospital pathology services have been subject to big changes since Lord Carter's 2006 report - under the Labour government.

This private health company boss recommended moving from hospital-based laboratories to regional labs, which private companies could bid to run.

Last month, bids went in to run community pathology services across the Midlands - a contract worth 300 million.

These blood tests are mostly automated and profitable, so hospitals use them to subsidise complex tests, like cancer diagnosis. Without routine high volume work, hospital laboratories become 'uneconomic'.

Sherwood Forest has paid Unipart over 1 million consultancy fees, introducing "lean" work practices, cutting out 'waste'.

But ever-increasing 'productivity' - more work from fewer people - is incompatible with a caring health service.

Health workers face intolerable pressures as patients and treatments become a production-line, with no time to provide individual attention as every patient - or laboratory test - should have.

Add to this, 20% less funding that the Tory/Lib government is providing for pathology services by 2015; 20 billion cuts (given the fancy name 'efficiency savings') across the NHS; the enormous financial pressure of Sherwood Forest Hospitals' unsustainable PFI payments.

Add on also the Modernising Scientific Careers project, changing the way medical laboratory scientists work, of which Kings Mill has been an early adopter - and we can see just some of the pressures building up in the laboratory.

There needs to be a local inquiry by health workers' trade unions, patients and community representatives.

The financial books should be opened so we can see where our money has been spent and where private profit is putting more patient's health at risk.

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In The Socialist 17 October 2012:


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Southampton anti-cuts councillors form new council group

Meetings after 20th October TUC demonstration


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2012


Socialist Party news and analysis

Academies: march to defend education on 20 October

Stop the gas price hike - Nationalise the utilities!

Osborne's 'shares' plan threatens rights

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

Unions must build the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)


Socialist history

Who was Malcolm X?

Poll tax: When organised mass action defeated the Tories

Liverpool 1983-87


Socialist Party youth and students

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action 13-28 October


International socialist news and analysis

Fight for a socialist and internationalist alternative to the crisis-ridden EU

Solidarity with Miners in South Africa

US elections: And the winner is... Wall Street!

Pakistan: Workers die as profit put before safety

Tamil Solidarity

Campaign Kazakhstan


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Hands off our NHS! - Victory in Gloucestershire

Stop the far right from 'uniting' on 27 October

Stop health robbery in Sherwood Forest

Tough choices

Chase the sharks out of Toon!

Invest in caring - we're worth it!


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Lecturers fight cuts

Amnesty International staff take strike action

Bus drivers: We need shorter hours!

Hospital staff in Stockton and Hartlepool threatened with worse terms and conditions

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Workplace news in brief


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The Socialist - Help us build it with the 20-20-20 plan!

Fight back against austerity - support the Socialist Party

Why I joined

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