RCN continues to fight for patient care and members’ jobs

Published on Friday, 02 September 2011 14:34
Posted by Matthew Abbott

The Royal College of Nursing will take every opportunity to tell the Government, all MPs and peers that NHS management is looking in the wrong place for savings.

The pledge was made by RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Dr Peter Carter in a message to members published as an RCN parliamentary briefing was sent to MPs and peers. He warns that patients’ and nurses’ interests are under threat through the combined effects of health service cuts, waste and bureaucracy, and key aspects of the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill, which receives its third reading next week.

The RCN has highlighted four key issues which must be addressed:

  • Bureaucracy and red tape: the RCN fears that the new health service structures in England may cost more to run than the current set up.  Millions are being spent dismantling strategic health authorities and primary care trusts but the structures that will replace them are complex and costly.
  • Cuts to patient care and nurses’ jobs: the NHS in England has to find £20 billion of savings over the next four years; already waiting times are rising, patient services are being cut and 40,000 front line jobs are at risk.
  • Waste in the NHS: the NHS is locked into hugely expensive private finance initiative (PFI) deals; this wastes £250 million a year on unused medication and £500 million on inappropriate procurement practices. 
  • Private income and bonuses: the RCN thinks there should be strict limits on the amount of private income that hospitals can chase, because otherwise acutely ill patients may not get the priority they need. The RCN insists that any surplus achieved by the new clinical commissioning groups must be ploughed back into patient services, not into bonuses.

Dr Carter says the RCN is working on two fronts to protect patient care and safeguard members’ jobs. He says that tackling waste and improving efficiency should be the priority, not cutting jobs and services. 

"At the same time we will continue to present detailed argument and analysis to Parliament on the detail of the [Health and Social Care] Bill to try and build on the changes that have been made and secure a change of direction on some of the most worrying aspects of the reforms,” he adds.

Source: Royal College of Nursing

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