Remember the shocking reports from Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust back in October? While the Board was obsessing about its new PFI project and its urgent need to eliminate a £17 million deficit, at least 90 patients died from C. difficile, with a further 179 deaths potentially attributable to the infection.
People died as a direct result of cuts. Patients were left lying in their own excrement, while nursing, healthcare assistant and cleaning services were cut to the bone.
Media reports this week are that two healthcare assistants have been sacked. A nurse and a further healthcare assistant have been disciplined.
Was it the nurse who implemented Government policy? Was it the healthcare assistants who decided to drive through cuts? Was it the healthcare assistants who played privatisation games while patients died?
No. Let’s be clear – the culprits are the Board members, the former Chief Executive, and the senior managers who took the strategic decisions that caused the deaths. At another level, the culprits are Hewitt, Blair and Brown – the politicians who demanded that NHS Trusts balance their books no matter what the cost was to patients.
NHS cuts harm patients and harm staff. Virtually every union rep in the NHS will have come across cases where NHS bosses victimise individual staff instead of acknowledging the staff shortages and lack of resources that are really to blame. I’m in the middle of a fight exactly like this in my own Trust, where managers are trying to sack three dedicated nurses instead of sorting out staff shortages.
Health workers are typically decent human beings who do the very best they can. It is the extraordinary dedication and commitment of health workers that keeps the NHS going. If we’re going to point the finger of blame, let’s start looking at the politicians who are dismantling the NHS, and the NHS bosses who go along with the ‘reform’ agenda.