Thursday, June 12, 2008

A week in the NHS

What a week.

Firstly, the government is against the wall on polyclinics with a million people signing the BMA's petition. Polyclinics, per se, are a good thing, the UK has had a form of them for some time (many community hospitals are in fact polyclinics). The problem comes when you attempt to build polyclinics to be run by 'for-profit' commercial BigHealth companies which replace and centralise local GP surgeries. (Not that there isn't a problem with GP surgeries being independent businesses anyway, but this is not the way to tackle it).

The pay ballots have been interesting to watch. The government has offered 8% over 3 years (pay increase of 2.75% from April, followed by further increases of 2.4% in 2009/10 and 2.25% in 2010/11), i.e three years of pay cuts to NHS staff. Unison and the RCN have accepted the deal but UNITE have rejected it. The RCN and Unison say that the deal is the best in the public sector! Doesn't say much for the public sector.

The RPI is running above 4% and you only have to look at energy and food prices to know that the real cost of living is going through the roof. Gordo's view is that public sector pay rises should be kept low to control inflation... i.e. stuff the nurses.

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