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Blood Service restructuring chaos
NATIONAL BLOOD Service workers have been amazed to discover that their Chief Executive, Martin Gorham, is stepping down. This follows the sideways move of the managing director.
Both men were closely identified with the restructuring plan which would have made around half of the service's scientific and technical staff redundant.
Some elements of the plan, in Birmingham and Cambridge, have already begun with workers at risk of redundancy, but the rest of the restructuring is now up for review. This gives trade unions, staff, hospitals and blood donors a space to make their views known and hopefully secure changes and improvements.
Many factors have come into play to call the restructure into question. These include: the threat and likelihood of industrial action from Amicus, national lunchtime protests in February and June, the spreading of the campaign to UNISON members on blood collection teams, and the change of ministers at the Department of Health.
But a crucial element was a stormy meeting of the Sheffield city council scrutiny committee, called as a result of a mass petition submitted by Sheffield Socialist Party. This allowed community anger at NHS cuts to be focused back to the unfortunate Blood Service managers sent to defend the restructure.
There is still a long way to go but this review now allows staff, through their trade unions, to put their view forward on how the Blood Service should develop in the future and restructure itself in the light of recent changes in health care.