Thursday, 25 April 2013

Paying for management mistakes

My local hospitals have had more than their fair share of problems and back in September I was warning against job cuts despite all that has been made of ring-fenced funding for the NHS. My trust has had significant management problems and this caused me to write a blog. I do not feel that staff (and consequently those who use the NHS in my area) should be affected because of management mistakes and I could see a way around the financial problems without cutting jobs. The health care regulator, Monitor, came in October last year because of the well documented problems with the maternity services. They uncovered many other problems and in February this year they started to make changes in the management team.

At that time Sir David Henshaw became the interim Chair and said that the trust had spent extra money in order to make services safe. Well we do need a "safe and sustainable" service but I still had the fear that jobs would be lost, and job losses would affect the service. Now the trust is warning of job cuts. 'In a letter to staff, trust chairman John Cowdall and chief executive Jackie Daniel said any schemes would have to be assessed to make sure they did not have a negative impact on patients'. It will be interesting to see which job losses, and we are talking of up to 260 posts, have no "negative implications" on patients.

In September the Trust management were not mentioning job cuts even though I could see them coming. They did not have a list of detailed options but they were able to say that they would consider better helicopter links across Morecambe Bay. Have we really had managers working for seven months to get to the stage that I was writing about at that time?

In any case I think it's irresponsible for Barrow's Labour MP John Woodcock to say  "This alarming plan shows that the swingeing cuts being forced on our hospitals means that up to one in ten nursing and support posts could go". This whole situation is everything to do with the Trust making the public pay for the consequences of its own past mistakes, and nothing to do with any government-backed proposals.

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