Wally Kennedy, Hillingdon Socialist Party
A coronavirus outbreak led to the self-isolation of up to 70 staff members at Hillingdon Hospital, west London, and its closure to admissions on Tuesday 7 July. Management is blaming staff.
But back in April, Hillingdon healthcare assistant Tracy Brennan had self-isolated for 14 days following her daughter’s Covid-19 symptoms, and returned to work wearing a mask.
She was instructed by hospital management, led by Chief Executive Sarah Tedford, to remove the mask.
Following discussions, Tracy resigned her post, angrily declaring that “I am not allowed to wear proper PPE to safeguard the patients, visitors and myself.” Now, unbelievably, the same Sarah Tedford blames staff for “not wearing appropriate masks and you are not adhering to social distancing”!
The hospital only began to provide masks and sanitisers for general staff and public use this month, in anticipation of a spike in infection rates.
Hillingdon is the borough with the highest infection rate in London, having increased from 6.9 to 8.2 per thousand in the week preceding 5 July.
Hospital workers should elect workplace committees to control health and safety rather than leaving it in the hands of incompetent managers. The unions should lead a fight for all the PPE and safety measures necessary.
The wages and conditions of maintenance staff have also now come under attack in an attempt to impose cuts and changes without discussion.
One worker reported: “Some union reps appear to be in bed with the management… and have been that way for a long time… but there may be changes this week.”
All NHS and all care services must be brought back in-house and placed under the democratic control and management of workers and service users. Put an end to the dangerous and wasteful privatisation nonsense!