Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The NHS is combusting

Teacher: And what did you do today, Jamie?

Me: Today, I got made redundant. Kinda.

I work for the local NHS trust on the locum bank where I theoretically fill in for clerical and admin staff on leave. I say technically because for the last eighteen months I've been doing the same job. Today, I was told my services would no longer be required. This is no big surprise as NHS Trusts up and down the country are copmbusting under the weight of their budgets, due in no small part to the over-excessive eages paid to doctors and nurses (but not to the clerical staff, oh no, cuz we're no "sexy"). Plymouth is no exception and over the past few months locum staff have been dwinfdling.

I had thought I was fairly safe although I was aware the axe could technically swing in my direction. See you could argue that my job, although one of the lowest paid, most mundane and highly menial, is also one of the most important.

Everyday, 'incidents' happen. They're not publicised but they do. Every so often you'll hear on the news about some new scandal and everytime I sit back and think "That happens 10 times a day!". Incidents range from nurses complaining about being short staffed (and most of the time that's all it is - complaining. Little do they stop to think that's how most of the working population exists), needle sticks, patients being given the wrong drugs, babies being weighed incorrectly leading to them getting ten times the medication and accidents in theatre. Like a drill slipping into someones brain during neurosurgery. For example. It's my job to read about these incidents and input them onto a database. Why's that so important you ask?

Well reports get run off the database. Imagine a Beverley Allit-type nurse. This is hopw she'd get caught out, from having her name gflagged up against too many deaths. Departments get to know which type of incident is more likely and where they need to train. If a department has been complaining of being short-staffed and something happens, there's just cause. These reports go out to hundreds of people, all from the one database.

The Trust gets assessed against certain standards one of which is this: http://www.nhsla.com/Claims/Schemes/CNST/ This saved the trust half a million punds this year, based on me doing my job. If I don't do it, the Trust isn't covered for insurance against litigation.

It's only a matter of time before someone dies, not just from me losing my job because that'd be arrogant, but from lack of funding and ill thought out ideas on how to save money.


Chris said...

And no doubt the chief exec will get a lovely pay-rise this year for saving so much money... don't you just love the NHS.

Aneurin Bevan must be rolling in his grave.

Jamie Starbuck said...

He's already announced he's got one! Plus, this year they've installed a DEPUTY Chief Exec at the cost of....£100,000 a year.

Luckily, I've managed to find a bit os work elsewhere in the hospital, otherwise I'd be up the veritible creek.

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