10 January 2013
Rotherham TUSC NHS campaign continues
ON 9 JANUARY, twenty Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition supporters protested at Rotherham Hospital before presenting a 3,000 signature petition to the Foundation Trust governors opposing the drastic cuts they are proposing to local NHS services.
In October, Brian James, then the Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust chief executive, proposed a "smaller hospital, with substantially fewer beds" and a smaller workforce to save £50m over the next four years.
TUSC made fighting these cuts the main policy of our campaign in the Rotherham parliamentary by-election held in November. We have continued the petition since and last night’s protest was the next step in our campaign. TUSC received widespread media coverage with two local papers, three radio stations and BBC North news reporting on the protest/petition.
Brian James then retired, no doubt on a fat cat pension, leaving 3,500 staff not knowing whether they would even have a job after Xmas.
Hundreds of nurses, therapists, clerical and technical staff and some managers were then issued with ‘at risk of redundancy notices’ in the week before Xmas. Five hundred jobs are at risk with possibly around 200 compulsory redundancies, including front-line nurses, health visitors and community staff.
Many staff remaining will face ‘down-banding’ ie pay cuts for the same job, and possibly privatisation of some departments. Three wards are ear-marked for closure including A6 ward for the elderly losing 33 beds. And the management want a 20% cut in non-elective surgery and treatments.
Ralph Dyson, joint divisional secretary of Rotherham NUT and our TUSC candidate in the recent by-election said:
"If these cuts go ahead, Rotherham will be reduced to not much more than a glorified cottage hospital. Why should the NHS staff and people of Rotherham have to pay this price when Tory cuts and privatisation, and Trust mismanagement, are to blame. The failed electronic patients records system cost millions and still it doesn’t work! They spent £5 million alone on a new frontage nobody needed. They shift staff to new buildings while other perfectly good buildings are being bulldozed".