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Scrapping health bill could save 6,000 nursing posts, says Labour

  • 27 Comments

Money earmarked for the costs of reorganising the NHS could pay to prevent the loss of 6,000 nursing posts, Labour claims.

Labour leader Ed Miliband will use the figure to renew pressure on the government to drop its controversial shake-up after warning there were just three months to save the NHS.

According to the opposition’s calculations, more than 3,500 nursing posts have been lost since the government came to power and another 2,500 are under threat.

The £1.7bn set aside to pay for the changes in the Health and Social Care Bill would more than pay for the £748m cost of protecting all of those jobs, it believes.

Mr Miliband will use a visit to a Kent hospital to step up his campaign against the bill.

He is expected to say: “In tough times and with little money around, the very first priority should be to protect the frontline NHS.

“Instead we have a government blowing a vast amount of money on a damaging top-down reorganisation at the same time as it is cutting thousands of nurses.

“Labour’s priority is protecting the front line, not a pointless and damaging reorganisation of the NHS.

“So we are calling for the bill to be scrapped, and for some of the money set aside to fund this reorganisation to instead be made available to the NHS to protect the thousands of nursing posts either already cut or set to be cut in the coming years.

“It is a clear and simple choice for the government: by stopping this damaging reorganisation we can fund 6,000 nurses.

“In opposition David Cameron told people he could be trusted to protect the NHS. In government he has put Tory free-market ideology ahead of basic patient care.”

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham added: “In just over 18 months in government, the coalition has taken a successful and confident NHS and turned it into an organisation that’s demoralised, destabilised and fearful of the future.”

The bill is due to return to the House of Lords this week for further debate.

Mr Miliband said it opened the health service to a “free market free-for-all” that would put the principles of the NHS at risk.

“It is not too late to stop this bill. We have three months to prevent great harm being done to the NHS,” he wrote in The Observer.

“Now is the time for people of all parties and of none, the professions, the patients and now peers in the House of Lords to work together to try to stop this Bill.”

Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter said: “Our Frontline First campaign has already identified over 48,000 NHS posts at risk in England alone.

“These figures are further evidence, if it were needed, that the extensive NHS reorganisation set out in the Health and Social Care Bill is a costly distraction from the major challenges faced by the NHS. The turmoil of stopping the Bill is outweighed by the turmoil of allowing it to continue, and we would urge peers to vote against the Bill when it is put before them again this week.”

But health minister Anne Milton said: “Labour’s accusations are wrong on all counts.

“Since the election we’ve cut admin staff by 15,000 and the total number of clinical staff has remained the same.

“If we were not proceeding with modernisation in the NHS, by the end of this Parliament there would be £1.5 billion not available to support services and frontline staff.

“Stopping the reforms now would mean cutting nursing posts. The shape of staffing in the NHS is changing and the increase in doctors and therapists relative to nurses reflects that.

“But nursing numbers continue to be at highest-ever levels in areas where they are needed. The ratio of nurses to the number of acute beds in hospital has improved significantly over the last 18 months.”

  • 27 Comments

Readers' comments (27)

  • these tory idiots dont give a toss about the nhs
    they just want to privatise it
    they would do it to all public services given the chance

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  • Little One

    I qualify in 7 months and am terrified what state the NHS will be in.

    I'll never find a job!

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  • Dear Little One... if you have neen training to become an NHS, surely you would have learned from your nurse training course that the Tory party are doing their utmost to scrap the NHS - as we know and value it- for a privatised substitute service.
    Recently, I had to go to a 'walk in' NHS run unit, only to be informed by the nurse that she did not work within the NHS, but, the NHS pay a private agency to staff the unit.
    Furthermore, when I 'registered' at the reception, the person was abrupt in her in tone of voice, to myself that the NHS was really going to the dogs......however, I was wrong, it's already there!
    Good luck with your exams....

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  • Dear Little One... if you have neen training to become an NHS nurse, surely you would have learned from your nurse training course that the Tory party are doing their utmost to scrap the NHS - as we know and value it- for a privatised substitute of a service.
    Recently, I had to go to a 'walk in' NHS run unit, only to be informed by the nurse that she did not work within the NHS, but, the NHS pay a private agency to staff the unit.
    Furthermore, when I 'registered' at the reception, the person was so abrupt in her in tone of voice, manner and attitude towards me that, I was thinking to myself, the NHS was really going to the dogs......however, I was wrong, it's already there!
    Good luck with your exams....

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  • michael stone

    Little One | 6-Feb-2012 11:05 am

    Little One, I hope you do find a nursing job.

    For some reason I managed to briefly scanyour comment in that 'Pain Police' piece, but when I tried to go back and post a comment it locked me out as 'subscriber only content'. Stick to your guns - pain is real if the patient feels it, and isn't present if the person isn't feeling it. Plently of wounds in wartime are not accompanied by any pain initially (many soldiers who are shot, say at the time they only felt the impact, not any pain), and when I played rugby I hurled myself into contacts which would have been very painful under 'everyday' circumstances, but are not at all painful when you are playing the game (you tend to get the pain in the showers, post-match).

    These NHS reforms are turning very nighmarish, even more so than they originally were - and this baffles me. Recently the Goverment has been using a 'line' that 'we know the reforms work and save money, because some GPs are already doing it'. How are those GPs already doing it, if the law has not yet been changed - doesn't that suggest, we could have the 'good bits of the changes' WITHOUT a change in the law ?

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  • looks like i might just give up on becoming a nurse now, hello wasted degree

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  • Little One

    Iama Cynic | 6-Feb-2012 1:28 pm

    "Dear Little One... if you have neen training to become an NHS nurse, surely you would have learned from your nurse training course that the Tory party are doing their utmost to scrap the NHS - as we know and value it- for a privatised substitute of a service."

    Actually, our course has not focussed on the current politics regarding the NHS and more with A&P, the formation of the NHS, holistic care, assessments, pathophysiology etc. We have had to find out what is happening in the NHS through the papers and staff on placements.

    michael stone | 6-Feb-2012 3:03 pm

    "Little One, I hope you do find a nursing job."

    Thank you, I do too!

    "For some reason I managed to briefly scanyour comment in that 'Pain Police' piece, but when I tried to go back and post a comment it locked me out as 'subscriber only content'. Stick to your guns - pain is real if the patient feels it, and isn't present if the person isn't feeling it. Plently of wounds in wartime are not accompanied by any pain initially (many soldiers who are shot, say at the time they only felt the impact, not any pain), and when I played rugby I hurled myself into contacts which would have been very painful under 'everyday' circumstances, but are not at all painful when you are playing the game (you tend to get the pain in the showers, post-match)."

    I know what you mean, we were discussing this in our pain lecture just the other day, whereby people did not realise they had pain until minutes, sometimes hours after they had injured themselves. I myself have had a delayed pain response and know what it is like. I also know what it is like personally, to be thought of as a 'faker' when in pain, it's not nice and that is why I would never do it to my patients. I was in pain for years before someone took me seriously and I eventually had an operation.

    "These NHS reforms are turning very nighmarish, even more so than they originally were - and this baffles me. Recently the Goverment has been using a 'line' that 'we know the reforms work and save money, because some GPs are already doing it'. How are those GPs already doing it, if the law has not yet been changed - doesn't that suggest, we could have the 'good bits of the changes' WITHOUT a change in the law ?"

    I cannot answer this because I do not know. I am just very concerned and very upset that an NHS I would have been proud to work in is being eroded in front of my eyes.

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  • tinkerbell

    Little One | 6-Feb-2012 11:34 pm
    'We have had to find out what is happening in the NHS through the papers and staff on placements'

    Sadly this is the way most of us have been finding out what is going on apart from those of us with direct experience of ward closure and staff cutbacks. We have had 3 units closed and staff redeployed to us.

    The tories are doing this all undercover they are not going to announce it to the general public because they want to keep it under wraps until it is all done and dusted and cannot be undone. I have nothing against those who can afford private care but not at the cost of destroying OUR NHS to line their own pockets. The tories have a vested interest in making this happen as they have shares in the private healthcare industry and whether they get in again at the next election is doesn't matter to them so long as they get out with huge amounts of money in their bank accounts as they hope their reforms cannot be undone. Much the same as when Thatcher started the process way back.The would sell their granny if they could make a fast buck.

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  • tinkerbell

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tomchiversscience/100134154/lansleys-nhs-bill-is-unnecessary-incomprehensible-and-possibly-illegal-other-than-that-its-great/

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  • john warwick

    the nhs needs to be cleaned up, how many of us have patients on the ward who are healthy enough to be discharged but cannt because there is no safe place to discharge them to. wether its the torie or labour both have closed wards. what needs to be done is a running the hospitals as a profit making business. Ealing hospital had nothing in place in the A&E to take or record private insurance information of the foriegn university students who booked in for treatment and this attitude that the government will subsedise the NHS is why we must chane all our attitudes

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