‘We will fight NHS sackings’


‘We are going to fight the compulsory redundancies,’ West Midlands UNISON regional officer Opinder Tiwana told News Line yesterday, in the wake of University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust’s plans to axe 1,000 jobs from a workforce of 7,000 – 750 of them compulsory redundancies.

UNISON regional officer Tiwana added: ‘We are opposed to any compulsory redundancy.

‘We are very concerned. The cuts are happening because the NHS nationally is in a financial crisis due to government targets, PFI and other pressures.

‘The trust is saying that there will be no effect on services. We don’t believe that at all. How can cutting a thousand jobs not have a detrimental effect on services?’

The British Medical Association (BMA) also condemned the cuts.

A BMA spokesperson said: ‘You can’t cut 1,000 staff and say that services won’t be affected.

‘Doctors are getting contradictory messages from the government.

‘On the one hand they’re being told to delay operations because the NHS can’t afford them. Then on the other, they hear that they’re to blame because they’re insufficiently productive.

‘The implication that this is all indirectly the fault of doctors – either because of their working practices or their pay levels – is hugely demoralising.

‘Trusts are in debt for a variety of reasons – poor value contracts with private providers, the rising costs of new drugs, government targets, and poor financial management have all played their part.’

An estimated 370 of the staff being axed are nurses and midwives.

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dr Beverly Malone said inevitably patients will suffer as operations are cancelled or delayed and wards are closed.

She added: ‘The research shows that when there are not enough nurses in hospital that patients have more infections, more falls, more pressure sores and that their mortality rates goes up.’

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