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Nick Clegg asks staff for ideas on NHS cuts


Hospital workers have been asked by Nick Clegg for their thoughts on which areas of the health service should be cut.

At Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, Mr Clegg talked of the “terrible challenge” of somehow making cuts without depleting the NHS at the front line.

Some workers said they felt reassured by what Mr Clegg told them, but others were not so sure and branded Mr Clegg’s request for cuts suggestions as a gimmick

However, the Liberal Democrat leader said: “That is really, really not our intention. We are adamant at looking at these suggestions seriously.”

Unconvinced that cuts would not damage the NHS and asked if he was reassured by what Mr Clegg said, union representative Dino Williams said: “Not really. We are not reassured.”

The staff side chairman said it was unfair that the public sector will “bear the brunt” for an economic crisis largely caused by banks.

Other workers, however, seemed to accommodate the notion that health provision would not necessarily be damaged by budget cuts.

Cardiothoracic services general manager Nick Kirby insisted: “It is essential that we maintain the standard but we can make further savings without compromising quality.”

He added: “The NHS is in an extremely strong position, stronger than ever before and there is real opportunity to look at how we can innovate.”


Readers' comments (25)

  • Anonymous | 26-Jun-2010 5:46 pm, Okay then a lot of us have come up with some great ideas for saving money and cutting waste in the NHS, lets see you do any better.

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  • How about charging for all non medical related expenses - no more free ride home from A&E, get a taxi. How about charging for hospital food, it's not the 1940's, a good % of the population are as big as a house, could do with cutting down, may as well start in hospital. Stop the massive amount of hospital tourism that exists in the high population centres. G.P. surgery and A&E should start charging a tenner to see the Dr - young people and elderly excepted, might make the G.P.s work it bit harder while we are at it. Hand over the major I.T. project to a big hitter like Oracle or I.B.M. with a proven record in delivering projects on time and within budget or cancel it. Train nurses in management and finance if their going to manage above junior sister level. Cancel all agency shifts, pay nurses overtime to work on their own wards. Make full use of a proactive sickness policy - which the H.R. office should manage and dismiss the malingerers. Make clinical supervision mandatory. Just a few to begin with. Cheers.

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  • You may notice from the above that I'm not entranced by the socialist wet dream of the NHS - perhaps because I have worked in it for a decade. Having not worked for long in any private industry I'm not sure if so many of the staff are often poorly educated, rude and lazy in these areas also?

    It's just human nature - you give people anything for 'free' and they keep coming back expecting more and better for 'free'.

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  • The Staff Side chairman said it was unfair that the public sector will “bear the brunt” for an economic crisis largely caused by banks.

    It was 'caused' by deregulation of financial services which is in the lap of the government I believe? This lead to a inflationary bubble caused by lending money to the feckless and untrustworthy, which inflated house prices and wages. When the bubble burst the government lost it's £40 billion per year tax take from the City and hence it's inflated socialist borrowing regime and spraying money at public services has to stop.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Jun-2010 9:21 pm, you make an excellent point there and I agree with what you say to a large extent.

    I believe in the principle that care should be free at the point of delivery. I fervently believe that is one of the best things this country has ever done.

    In that respect I do not think surgeries or A&E should ever charge.

    However, I also believe that a lot of things like you said should not fall under that umbrella, I also believe that some people have lost the privelige to use the system.

    Hospital tourism is a huge issue, cut that out completely, if you weren't born here, you don't get treated here for free. Simple as that.

    And people who CHOOSE to carry on with piss poor lifestyle choices despite being offered initial help to stop, should have treatment taken away unless they pay.

    People who abuse staff should get heavy fines that go directly into the budget for that area, and extra levies to pay for the Police who would protect the staff and issue the fines. A&E would take a lot of money on the weekends!

    As for your idea 'Cancel all agency shifts, pay nurses overtime to work on their own wards', hear bloody hear!!!!

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  • dear Nick, please read this:

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  • Martin Gray

    Clegg and Cameron pledged to cut down the management and administration costs but have done nothing to do so; cuts ARE being made by PCTs and Trusts but these are also hitting front line services, again these were promised not to be affected, by closing wards and puutting staff on 90 consultaion periods (whatever they are).

    There has to be management and administration, it's the number of management tiers and the poor administration that needs to be fine tuned; leaving change in the hands of the present managers at Trust and PCT levels will not work - they will be looking at saving their own employment!

    Agree about the wastage of medicines and the excuses for this do not hold up. If a package is not opened and all the contents are present thenh why shouldn't that medication be put back on the shelves?

    Using consultants is pure wastage as they charge exhorbitant fees and produce little in return apart from 'ideas'.

    And why is it so essential to change names thus incurring the costs mentioned by another contributor on this thread? Pure madness and totally unecessary.

    There are some very valid suggestions already made, but you have to have compromise, you can't just target non clinicians unless you are prepared to take on their roles and responsibilities yourself. They are needed, but should be effective and effcient, doing the role they are being paid to do and not just attending endless, needless meetings.

    Collecting money from patients would be a logistic nightmare and extremely difficult to implement.

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  • Cut out all "management consultancy", and invest in health promotion. Major increases in the tax on tobacco and alcohol would help the NHS, as would forcing food providers to cut out salt and fats.

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  • I think to charge people for meals in hospital would epitamise what we do as nurses. food is a nutrient and patients are not going to recover without nutrients. not really a good idea. i think the fact that we are being asked what we can to save may just give them fresh ideas from the people who have to work in such conditions.

    I agree about the paid over time but paying less tax on having two jobs does seem a good idea too. lets hope one of the nurses who spoke to nick clegg came up with such an idea.

    We are our own worst enemies in terms of being taken for a ride by the government, but isn't that why we pay for our unions? they are not exactly speaking up at this time are they?

    I agree that unused medication and unused dressings should be put back into the system. was it cheaper when the nurses had all of the stock and not the patient?

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  • Anonymous | 26-Jun-2010 9:21 pm
    A lot of your suggestions already happen where I work and the GP's I work alongside work incredibly hard.
    One suggestion I would put forward is questioning the doubling of management and consultancy by introducing commissioning for out of hours contracts. The new private contracts are reduced because they are slashing and burning their costs at the expense of quality and care.
    The medication wastage issue I found shocking and frankly morally questionable.
    I think the NHS should be dictating/negotiating drugs bills with the pharmaceutical industry not the other way round.
    There should be an improved understanding of self care, basic care in community and then what constitutes urgent need.
    Missed appointments should be chargeable.
    The patients charter needs redraughting to improve people's understanding of rights and responsibilities and then what they actually cost.
    Government then needs to be honest about what the country can afford and where their choices are falling, eg. paying for war or looking after people.

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