Socialist Worker

IT workers in NHS could lose jobs

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2302

Workers at a major IT firm are bearing the brunt of the chaos that privatisation and outsourcing has brought to the NHS.

Up to 1,100 workers at CSC, which had been creating a care records database for the NHS, could lose their jobs.

Huge sums of public money were poured into the project. But health secretary Andrew Lansley cancelled the contract, citing it as an example of Labour waste.

Now CSC bosses claim they have no choice but to make cuts after losing £960 million on the botched contract.

Yet they still managed to find a severance package of £4.2 million for retiring boss Mike Laphen.

Paul Packham, a Unite union rep at CSC in Chesterfield, says most of the jobs going weren’t even working on the database.

He adds that cancelling the project is part of the Tory cuts agenda. “Since the coalition got into power it has done everything they can to break up the NHS.

“It would prefer to slice the whole thing up, and instead of having one IT system get each of the parts to buy their own.”

And where would they buy this? Well, CSC has devoted a decade of public funding to developing hospital software. Now it can cash in. But that’s no consolation to the workers facing the sack.

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