Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/448/5350
National Blood Service: Fighting job cuts
AMICUS MEMBERS in the National Blood Service are fighting 200 proposed job losses in the National Blood Service (NBS) laboratories in Birmingham, Southampton and Plymouth.
Andy Ford, Amicus rep, NBS (personal capacity)
The NBS intends to close the main testing and blood processing laboratories at the three sites, replacing them with a 'super-centre' at Filton in Bristol. 200 jobs will go over the next two years, partly off-set by 100 extra jobs to be created at Filton.
The main cause of the redundancies is the refusal by the Department of Health to fund upgrades at the three threatened blood centres. There has been no major investment in the NBS buildings for the last 10-15 years, and as a consequence some of the Centres have a huge backlog of maintenance, and some even need rebuilding.
However, the Department of Health's answer is not to put the necessary money in but to insist on service centralisation. This could prefigure a major shake-up in the wider NHS Pathology service, which is awash with rumours of centralisation into huge regional pathology labs which would be a tempting target for privatisation or 'public-private partnership'.
Amicus and the joint trade unions have produced a counter-case to the service centralisation and also a document setting out what a blood service would look like, based on public service not market mechanisms, meeting health needs and the democratic involvement of staff and blood donors. This has met with little response from NBS management.
Birmingham members are planning to participate in the 15 July NHS protest in Birmingham and a national combined unions reps meeting in the city is planned for the week after.
In The Socialist 13 July 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth and Education
Socialist Party campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party National committee report