Goodwill to be biggest casualty of NHS cuts

Two news items caught my blogging eye this week. Number one concerned a leaked document prepared by the Foundation Trust Network that shows beyond doubt (if there ever was any doubt) how the boom years have turned to bust.

Call it ‘strategic financial re-alignment’ or ‘savage cuts’, the fact is that the NHS, its patients and staff are all in for a hard time in the coming years.

Yet we see the absurd spectacle of NHS ministers fuelling public expectations in the run up to a general election, while behind closed doors their NHS managers are trying to figure out which services and staff they must savage to balance the books.

What makes me so angry is that the NHS Foundation Trust Network appears to be riding roughshod over the very terms and conditions that its political lords and masters agreed with staff representatives. I may not be a keen supporter of the 2003 consultant contract but that does not mean I can ignore it! But that is precisely what appears to be the case here.

Secret meetings discussing redundancies, the plundering of pensions, the tearing up of national agreements and other consequences of financial crisis hardly suggest health service personnel are valued, far from it. The NHS has always depended on the goodwill of its staff. But that goodwill may well be the biggest casualty of the cost cutting knife.   

Irritant number two was directed towards the appalling abuse of power and trust by a senior police commander, Ali Dizaei. I wondered whether four years in jail was sufficient. His actions were grossly unacceptable, let down the people he was appointed to serve, brought his profession into disrepute and demonstrated a total lack of accountability.

The judge had his own reasons for imposing the jail sentence but I could not help but wonder whether he should not have turned to precedent when another senior public servant was also found guilty of an abuse of power. Surely the least the judge could have done was to call for a complete overhaul of the way the profession polices itself, and introduce relicensing, revalidation, appraisal and the appointment of Responsible Officers.

It may be hugely bureaucratic, costly, time-consuming and tiresome, but at least we will be reassured that nothing like this can ever, ever, happen again – can’t we?

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One Response to “Goodwill to be biggest casualty of NHS cuts”

  1. Mr White says:

    Well, we now know where we stand with foundation trusts. Hopefully the BMA/HCSA will be able to protect our rights.
    However, I’m not sure you can liken Ali Dizaei to Shipman, if that was indeed your intention. The crime was a different order of magnitude.

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