Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/503/3157
The Socialist 27 September 2007 |
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Swansea NHS trust - balancing books at patients' expense
SWANSEA NHS trust's announcement that they intend axing 750 nursing and health care hospital posts and 86 beds over the next three years has angered nurses and hospital staff. ALEC THRAVES spoke to a nurse, a Unison member, at Swansea's Morriston hospital (part of Swansea NHS trust).
WHEN MORRISTON staff heard about the trust's plans they were told they would have to apply for their own jobs. There was no consultation with staff or their unions. Staff were already angry and frustrated due to staff shortages.
There was no warning about the cutbacks. On one ward staff only found out that the ward was now closed at weekends when they turned up for their shift!
The trust claim these 'efficiencies' will not affect patient care. Tell that to the people stuck on a trolley in accident and emergency (A&E) or in an ambulance queue waiting to get into A&E because it and the other wards have no beds.
Staff understand this is all about the trust balancing its books at the expense of patient care and staff working conditions.
In 2006, the trust tried to cut hospital services, claiming that people would be 'cared for in the community' but were seen as trying to cut services to eradicate a £12 million debt. So now the trust has not bothered to consult the public, staff or their unions.
This time there's no talk of community care, now it's 'beds are not needed because people spend less time in hospital'. Nursing staff will tell you that the demands for in-patient care have not reduced.
Unison members at Morriston demanded that their union call a meeting urgently to oppose the trust's plans. Many nurses and health care workers were so angry they were prepared to walk out there and then. Unison has agreed to ballot staff about taking industrial action.
All trade unions should oppose these cuts. Unison needs to turn its members' anger into action. Staff want to stop these cuts.
If they are forced to take industrial action to defend NHS services and their working conditions, they will receive the full support of the Socialist Party, the local community and other trade unionists.