Ten years after Tony Blair announced that there were “24 hours to save the NHS” the extent of the financial crisis in the health service and the mania for privatisation has become even more apparent.
- A report for the Information Centre for Health and Social Care says that the number of people working in the NHS fell by around 17,000 people from September 2005 to September 2006.
Analysis of the figures showed that the number of qualified nurses working in the NHS fell by 5,826.
- A former executive of a private healthcare provider is set to be offered the job of commercial director at the department of health, further entrenching the “market based reforms” so loved by health secretary Patricia Hewitt.
According to the Financial Times, Tony Blair has approved the appointment of R Channing Wheeler, who worked for US-based multinational UnitedHealth.
UnitedHealth has profited from the US system of healthcare in which only those with money can expect to receive treatment.
Wheeler’s former employers are being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission over alleged financial “irregularities”.
- Operating theatre nurses at Barnsley hospital in South Yorkshire have voted in favour of taking industrial action short of strike action in a dispute over working hours and grading.
The 120 members of the GMB union decided to act after being told that they would have to work extra hours and take a pay cut.
- More than 600 protesters brought the centre of Swansea, South Wales, to a standstill last weekend in a bid to save the neurosurgery unit at Morriston hospital.
Jeanie Morris, a nurse at the unit, praised former patients and staff who turned out in force to support the protest.
“It is about time people stood up to the cuts,” she said.