Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/523/3851
Rewarded for zeal at cuts
A DEVASTATING outbreak of the 'superbug' clostridium difficile at Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire between 2003 and 2005 killed 33 patients with another 334 patients becoming seriously ill.
A damning report by the Healthcare Commission said that Ruth Harrison, then the £130,000 a year chief executive of Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust, had compromised the safety of patients by rejecting advice from local experts, and had put reorganising the Trust, new buildings and achieving targets before health issues.
She resigned just before the Commission's findings were announced, and got a £140,000 'golden goodbye'. Her zeal for cuts was recently rewarded further when she won a short-term contract, heading a review into maternity and children's services at Epsom and St Helier hospital in Surrey. This review could lead to ward closures as her similar review in Buckinghamshire did, with cuts coming in later this year.
Bad publicity forced Harrison to step down from the Surrey job, but it went instead to a fellow consultant from the same firm, Durrow, where she is a director!
Harrison's previous high-profile job was managing Kidderminster General Hospital, the downgrading of which led to the election of independent anti-hospital cuts MP Dr Richard Taylor. Health campaigners in Bucks, Surrey and elsewhere should consider standing as pro-NHS candidates in elections in their areas.
In The Socialist 4 March 2008:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International Women's Day
Environment and socialism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Workplace news and analysis