Thursday, 13 November 2008

The NHS at 60

As a new NHS employee I decided to turn up for the discussion on the NHS at 60. socialist party councillor Dr Jackie Grunsell led off an excellent discussion on the state of the NHS. Needless to say her indictment was damning, anyone with even a passing interest in the NHS can see how despite a massive increase in funding from New Labour, the NHS remains a bureaucratic monster well on the way to privatisation via the back door.

Jackie described the effects of having PCT's and running them as businesses. The effects are plain to see, with demonstrations and campaign groups being set up the length and breadth of the country. Of course the government won't privatise the NHS overnight, instead we have the creeping privatisation of auxiliary and administration services, and of course now the option to 'top up' our hospital visits with private health care.

I won't go into generalities about the NHS, I'm going to post about my experiences within the NHS and private health care.

I've worked for private health care companies all my working life(7 years now), both in the care sector and the education sector. All these jobs involved the provision of support for people with learning difficulties and/or Autism. I can honestly say that in those seven years I've noticed a degradation in work conditions in each successive job I've had. In my last job (before the NHS one) I was on the minimum wage supporting some people who weren't far off being sectioned, so severe was their behaviour. Of course though, as Marx said 'conditions determine conciousness' these residents had to deal with a high turn over of staff and a demoralised workforce. The company used migrant agency workers on 6 month contracts in order to maintain a semi-stable workforce.

I contrasted this with my experience working for the NHS. I've had a 50% increase in pay, I have lots less responsibility and the staffing levels are about twice what I'm used to. Don't get me wrong it's not perfect- far from it in fact, but it's almost a utopia compared to what I'm used to. I've become active in the union, being elected youth officer for my unison branch and shops steward at my work place, it's quite refreshing organising in the open, rather than covertly as I had done in other work places.

Imagine my horror, on my first day to find out that my workplace is under threat of privatisation! Yep North Staffs Combined Healthcare wants to ship out all of it's Learning difficulty units out to the private sector (except the Assessment and Treatment unit) obviously not profitable enough to warrant keeping. Needless to say, I'll be bringing this up at the union branch meeting on the 18th.


Leftwing Criminologist said...

good luck with that at your bracnh meeting, comrade

brother_f said...


I'm going to whip those lackeys into shape!