(Background is here)
Lunchtime protests will be held at all blood centres in England on Friday 15th June. This is one day after International Donor Day (also the first day of a week of national leafleting in support of NBS workers by the UK IWW). Click below for the addresses of affected centres for any available health activists who would like to go along + give the staff a boost.
The traditionally conservative Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is planning industrial action for the first time since it was founded 125 years ago.
RCM members are outraged that midwives’ pay is now increasing at a rate slower than inflation – in real terms, midwives are getting their pay cut. Delegates at the RCM’s recent conference voted unanimously for a ballot on industrial action, though the College insists it will stop short of a strike.
RCM General Secretary Karlene Davis commented “There is a groundswell of discontent amongst midwives… it is one that the Government ignores at its peril. Morale amongst midwives is plummeting and the pressure on them is increasing”. She added that midwives felt “real anger” at the pay deal.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing will also ballot its members on industrial action for the first time in history.
The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee today warned of the dangers of increasing use of agency nurses within the NHS. In a trend being replicated throughout the UK economy, decent, secure jobs are being replaced with temporary or agency work, and nurses and patients are paying the price. Many NHS managers find it more convenient to book temporary nursing staff to deal with short term peaks in demand and holidays, and then get rid of these workers when demand is not so great. Agency workers can also be denied basic benefits such as holiday pay, and agency bosses attempt to save even more money by not providing their staff with necessary training – according to the committee 39% have not received basic life support training and 41% have not been trained in infection control.
Click below to read more…
An article I wrote for the most recent issue of ‘Direct Action’ magazine (www.direct-action.org.uk) to shed some light on the plans for all hospitals and even PCTs to undergo transition to ‘Foundation Trust’ status, one of the government’s current weapons of choice in the privatisation by stealth of the NHS and the cuts to jobs and services which go with it. The information fed to health workers by hospital managers keen to achieve foundation status is extremely misleading – find out the things they don’t want you to know here.
The vital blood processing and distribution service is to be centralised in management cost cutting insanity which will result in blood being transported hundreds of miles by road and skilled workers losing their jobs. This will directly threaten patients’ lives as the blood is driven on congested motorways from the donation centres to the “super centres” and then back out to hospitals.
Historical article adapted from the ‘Northampton Healthworker’ newsletter. I think it highlights well how the introduction of market forces into the NHS is in reality a disguised form of rationing, which can and does have devastating consequences for those who can’t afford to go private. It also shows, however, that it is nothing new, and can be resisted very effectively if healthcare workers and users get together and stick up for ourselves.