Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/448/5350
The Socialist 13 July 2006 |
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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
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.