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LIBERAL GROUP Wyre Forest District Council

 
Mike
Fran
Mandy
Rachel


 
Siri
Graham
Paul
Rob

 

Council backs Liberal Hospital Motion...

At Wednesday nights Meeting of the Wyre Forest District Council the Council voted unanimously to support a Motion moved by Liberal Group Leader Cllr Mike Oborski opposing the latest round of Hospital cuts.

The Motion declared:-

"THIS COUNCIL totally opposes the proposed £30m reduction in the spending of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which will lead to the loss of 720 posts from across the three hospitals involvrd at Kidderminster, Worcester and Redditch.

Council believes that the loss of 1 in 7 staff will further undermine public confidence in local Health Service management, destroy staff morale and inevitably lead to a deterioration in services to patients and the public. This further destabilisation of Hospital Services across this County is totally and absolutely unacceptable.

Council shares the concerns of Worcestershire County Council with regards to the potential impact of these cuts upon the provision and funding of County Social Care services.

Council calls upon the County Council Health Services Scrutiny Panel to conduct an immediate scrutiny exercise into the detailed implications of the proposed spending cut.

Council determines to immediately establish a Task Group tp co-ordinate the Council's opposition to this latest ill begotten threat to local Health Services."

Cllr Mike Oborski told the Meeting...

Chairman, I am moving the Motion and Cllr Stokes (Health Concern) will second it.

Well Chairman, Here we go again! Another year and another set of Health Cuts. It is beginning to seem as if this has gone on for ever.

Like the Flying Dutchman eternally condemned to sail the oceans so Kidderminster Hospital or Treatment Centre—or whatever it happens to be called today—seems eternally condemned to wave after wave of cuts!

Here we go again—£30 million cuts—720 posts to go across the three County Hospitals.

Let’s start by pinning the blame firmly and squarely where it belongs—on Her Majesty’s benighted shambles of a Government. They failed to accurately predict the cost of the new Health Service Contracts. They then turned a mess into a crisis by forcing the Acute Trusts to balance their budgets in only one year when that was clearly a total impossibility without damage to the service provided to the public. In some cases poor management may have contributed but the harsh and blunt underlying reality is that the Government has either by design or by sheer incompetence brought matters to a head turning — as I said - a mess into a crisis.

Now of course the head of the NHS says this is not a “crisis” it is a “challenging opportunity”.

It strikes me that this is rather like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding into town and happily announcing “Don’t think of us as “War”, “Pestilence”, “Famine” and “Death” - think of us instead as a “Challenging opportunity for population down sizing”!

Chairman, how can £30 million be extracted from Budgets and how can 720 posts disappear without extensive damage to services and amenities for patients and public?

The freezing of posts alone is already dangerous and detrimental where the post frozen happens to be to vital to a Department or a procedure. No doubt we will hear more of that during the debate.

Furthermore, the supplementary papers, out today, for next Monday’s meeting of the Cabinet of the Worcestershire County Council, make clear the knock on effects. They say:-

The Council must be concerned at reports of financial deficits in the Health Service locally and the impact this may have on local people. The Council’s care services for adults and children are closely linked to the work of the Health Service. Working arrangements are already in place to pool budgets and jointly commission or manage vital services. It is essential that this collaboration remains stable and services are not jeopardised.

The staff reductions announced by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and impending savings plans from Primary Care Trusts will have a potential impact on social care in areas such as jointly funded services, pooled budgets, and the capacity of community care services to respond to increasing pressures to support people at home.

We need Chairman, in the light of this new evidence, to add to the motion the words “Council shares the concerns of Worcestershire County Council with regards to the potential impact of these cuts upon the provision and funding of County Social Care services”.

Chairman, this is not a localised crisis. It is part of a nation wide crisis with 8,000 job cuts announced and the four major national children’s Hospitals having announced yesterday that the deficits which they face this year, in the case of Birmingham Childrens Hospital £2 million, will mean that access to vital highly specialised life saving treatments will be restricted.

Chairman, we have to look at the local impact. The jobs and skills which will be lost here and the damage to local services and the impact on local patients.

The County Councils Health Scrutiny Panel need to look in detail at implications across the County. We also need a “Task Group” of some sort—NOT to duplicate their work—but rather to campaign and articulate our cause here in Wyre Forest on the specific Wyre Forest aspects of the situation.

Chairman we cannot allow these cuts to go ahead without a fight—without our total opposition, our organised opposition, our effective opposition. These cuts are an outrage and a disgrace. This Council must give a lead in standing up and fighting. I move.

Cllr Siri Hayward explained:-

There are 2 worrying aspects associated with the 720 job cuts.

Firstly, the impact they will have on patient services. John Rostill said on the radio that as nurses and admin and clerical are the two largest groups working in the Trust, they will suffer the greatest cuts.

The Trust is anticipating that most of the jobs will be lost by natural wastage. This is a highly laudable aim until you look at the areas with the greatest staff turnover which are the areas of the Trust with highly stressful jobs – namely theatres and ITU.

The anaesthetists are very concerned that major operations will not be able to be performed without adequate numbers of ITU staff.

Trust managers have said that if a post is deemed vital to the work of the Trust they will allow it to be recruited to but the process of applying to the managers for permission to recruit is bound to increase the time lag between one person leaving a post and another being recruited. But -the cuts have got to come from somewhere.

Apparently the 720 figure was decided on because that was considered to be the number which the trust could absorb without patient services being adversely affected. It was assumed that the average salary would be £25000. If the job cuts affected staff with lower level salaries, the number would have to be more – higher level salaries and the number would be less.

The second worrying aspect about the job cuts is that they will not solve the trust’s financial problems as these are caused by the actual structure of the organisation which is the result of government policy and successive ‘modernisation’ attempts.

· PFI – is a tremendous financial drain on the trust’s resources. Not only do the exorbitant capital charges have to be met, but also exorbitant service charges - for example, portering, catering and cleaning services.

· Worcestershire is at a disadvantage because it is a semi-rural trust covering a large geographical area. Consequently it has three locations at Worcester, Redditch and Kidderminster which means that it has three times the overheads that an urban trust would have

· Government Targets have to be met. Traditionally, before the introduction of the internal market in 1975, operating lists were based on clinical priorities. Cancer and other life-threatening conditions were given priority on the operating lists while non life threatening conditions such as herniae and varicose veins were left at the bottom of the list. Consequently the waiting list for these conditions was very long.

Now trusts have to meet government targets and no patient has to wait longer than 6 months for any operation. To achieve this near impossible task Waiting List Initiatives are performed at WRI every Saturday and Sunday and Bank Holiday. These are achieved by paying stressed clinical staff who have already done a full weeks work a higher rate of pay so that they will do extra operating lists. The financial penalties which the trust will incur if they do not meet the targets are far greater than the extra cost of performing the extra lists.

The ironic thing is that the trust invariably works over the levels set in the contracts with the Primary Care Trusts and last year the PCT appealed to the Strategic Health Authority because it didn’t have the money to pay Worcestershire NHS Acute Health Trust for all the work it had done and the SHA knocked £9.5 million off the amount we were owned!- unbelievable! So basically the trust is between a rock and a hard place as it gets penalised if it does not reach government targets yet it does not get paid for all the work that it does!

· National Tariffs this is another government whammy which initially caused such a furore when it was introduced last year that it had to be withdrawn, redesigned and reintroduced. As the title suggests this is about the government setting the tariffs for work which apply throughout the country and as I have already explained, Worcestershire Trust is very disadvantaged as it has three times the overheads of an urban trust, so the future does not look too promising!

To illustrate the impact of these tariffs, the amount of money which was allowed the trust for an emergency medical emergency was £1200 because the patient had to be admitted and have a raft of tests performed in order to ascertain what the problem is and to monitor the patient while a treatment regime was being introduced. This could not be achieved as a day case. This regime will now be impossible as the rate has been slashed to £130 which will not pay for the tests let alone admission and monitoring.

These 720 job cuts are designed to bring the trust within reach of breakeven in 2 years. This still has to be agreed by the SHA and the Department of Health. They may insist that breakeven is achieved this year in which case patient services will have to be slashed. The trust management understandably say that they will insist that the SHA decides which services will have to go.

So sadly, these cuts are not the end of the situation, but the beginning of the end.

19.04.06


Liberals are the only Party to table a motion against the proposed Hospital cuts for next week's Council Meeting...

Motion against Hospital cuts...

Liberal members of Wyre Forest District Council have tabled a Motion for next week's full Council Meeting denouncing proposed £30 million cuts and 720 job losses across Worcestershire Hospitals.

Liberal Group Leader Cllr Mike Oborski said "after all the misery and cut backs which have afflicted Hospital services in Kidderminster thse latest proposed cuts really are the last staw!"

The Motion reads:-

"THIS COUNCIL totally opposes the proposed £30m reduction in the spending of Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust which will lead to the loss of 720 posts from across the three hospitals involvrd at Kidderminster, Worcester and Redditch.

Council believes that the loss of 1 in 7 staff will further undermine public confidence in local Health Service management, destroy staff morale and inevitably lead to a deterioration in services to patients and the public. This further destabilisation of Hospital Services across this County is totally and absolutely unacceptable.

Council calls upon the County Council Health Services Scrutiny Panel to conduct an immediate scrutiny exercise into the detailed implications of the proposed spending cut.

Council determines to immediately establish a Task Group tp co-ordinate the Council's opposition to this latest ill begotten threat to local Health Services."

13.04.06

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