The Socialist 12 October 2006
Health workers beat the privateers
Blood service faces cuts
AMICUS MEMBERS in the laboratories of the National Blood Service are considering strike action after management announced a far-reaching restructuring plan which would see at least 50% of the scientific staff made redundant over the next five years.
Andy Ford, secretary to the National Blood Service Amicus reps committee, spoke to the socialist.
"The final straw was when this restructure was announced in a Q&A session at a scientific meeting last week, three days before the trade unions and staff had even been informed. It's as if they don't take us seriously.
"The Blood Service say that they need to close seven out of 10 regional blood centres to cope with a fall in the use of blood due to technical advances like keyhole surgery. But these cuts go way beyond the fall in use, which has been about 2% a year for the last five years.
The real reason is that the Department of Health have not invested and will not invest in modern up-to-date facilities.
No new blood centre has been built since 1991, except the Liverpool Centre and that was only funded after a campaign by the unions and blood donors and local people against the closure of the old Liverpool centre."
UNISON in the Blood Service, who organise the blood collection teams, have troubles as well. There are job cuts amongst the donor carers, who go out to blood donor sessions in church halls and factories, as well as for team managers and donor recruitment staff.
AMICUS and UNISON reps lobbied the board of the NHS Blood and Transplant Authority, who run the National Blood Service, last week, but staff are now braced for announcements over the next few weeks as to exactly which centres will face closure or down-sizing.
In this issue
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news