NHS Frontline cutsPosted: March 22, 2011
There’s been a fair bit of news coverage about cuts to staff in NHS organisations. There is a lot of attention about this because the conservative party pledged not to cut frontline NHS staff during the election campaign. So the first thing to bear in mind is that these figures are hot potatoes that are being tossed about by all sides in the argument. There are hundreds of commentators discussing these figures, for example, this article from media agency ‘eGov monitor’.
NHS savings and cuts
The NHS has to save £20 billion by 2014. This is to enable the NHS to balance the books, as there is an aging population which requires more health services, and a higher drugs bill because of scientific advances in medicines and treatments. This £20 billion was set out by the Labour government in 2009 and reaffirmed as the plan of action by the coalition government in their spending review.
The programme to drive this savings plan is called ‘QIPP’ – Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention. Each trust has its own QIPP plans, which detail how it will save money over the next few years.
What are frontline staff? Definitions of ‘clinical’ and ‘non-clinical‘
When looking at job loss figures, roles are usually divided into clinical and non-clinical staff. Clinical staff may be doctors, nurses, midwives, Health Care Assistants (HCAs), consultants, dentists, pharmacists, and other staff members who are involved in the direct care of patients. These may also be referred to as ‘frontline staff’.
Non-clinical staff includes staff who are receptionists, catering staff, cleaners and janitors, administrators and staff working in a non-clinical job such as Human Resources or various management and administrative roles. (Not all managers are non-clinical though, of course – many managers, such as Matrons, are clinical staff.)
Frontline First website:
The Royal College of Nursing has been running a Frontline First campaign. The idea of the campaign is to speak out about frontline cuts and propose alternative ideas for saving money while protecting patient safety:
Frontline First will empower nursing staff to speak out against the NHS cuts that are harming patient care, expose where they see waste in the system and champion nurse-led innovations and ideas that are saving money whilst keeping patients safe.
To find out what information they have in your area, click on the interactive map over your area, and then click on ‘read more’.
You can click on your area and view the information that they have about your local services.
The False Economy campaign has recently undertaken a piece of research into cuts in health services. This research looked at responses to Freedom of Information requests put to health service trusts and shows over 50,000 job losses. Here’s an article that they’ve put together about their research.
The False Economy NHS data is also published by my favourite source of facts-n-figures, the Guardian Datablog:
This data has also been turned into an interactive map by thedatastudio (and you know how I love interactive maps):
- Interactive Map of NHS job cuts
You can click on your area of this map and see what data has been released under the FOI requests. (Bear in mind that if trusts show no job losses, this may be because they have not responded to the FOI requests, not necessarily because they are not losing any positions.)
What you can do with this data:
Have a good look through the websites above and make sure you know what information has been released by your local trusts about job losses.
Frontline, back-end or jiggling about in the middle – whatever the political arguments, a good healthcare organisation will be working with their LINk where changes are occuring that affect services to patients. So keep your ear to the ground and make sure that where services are reduced or changed, you are confident that proper plans are in place to ensure that patient safety isn’t compromised.