Published: 6 July, 2012
• AS a patient of Whittington Hospital I was extremely concerned about the news of the changes being made there (Hospital staff braced for job losses, June 22).
I know that the hospital is in the process of applying for foundation trust status, which required it to involve residents in its application. But now there are major changes being made that will directly affect patient services it is not so keen to involve us, keeping us in the dark about its plans.
What really worries me is the use of “lean methodology” to reorganise patient administration.
I have never had a problem with my appointments at the hospital, so I am wondering why they need to make these changes. Lean production – used extensively in car plant production lines – is all about cutting costs.
That I fear is the real reason it is paying former car parts company and now management consultant Unipart – formerly a part of car manufacturer British Leyland – £1.2million over the next two years.
It is well known that mass production lines speed up the workforce, leading to dissatisfaction and alienation of workers.
I do not want that to happen to staff at the Whittington.
Good care cannot be achieved by mass production techniques. When we go into hospital we expect to be treated as patients, not as car parts. My fear is that this cost cutting will lead to a deterioration of patient care.
And why are local people not being given a say in the running of our hospital?
Maria da Silva, the already-well-paid senior NHS manager involved, is now paying over £1million to Unipart to get rid of 120 admin staff at the Whittington.
How is paying public money to sub-contract out the work of senior NHS managers to private management consultants, and reducing hospital staffing, going to make the service more efficient?
Mayton Street, N7
• FOLLOWING the successful campaign, supported by the Tribune, to save Whittington Hospital accident and emergency unit from Labour government cuts in 2010, our local hospital is once again under threat.
The so-called austerity agenda of the Con-Dem government means that Whittington Hospital faces cuts calculated by the Defend the Whittington Hospital Coalition (DWHC) at £13million up to 2014, and £1.9million this year.
Already, 120 jobs are to be lost, including those of clinical care co-ordinators and staff in medical records, appointments and admissions.
Meanwhile, hospital management is paying £1million over two years to a private contractor, Unipart, to manage the cuts programme. This is a waste of public money which should have been spent on keeping the NHS staff whose jobs are being axed.
Other worrying changes are already evident. So-called low priority treatments (non-emergency surgery including women’s health, hip replacements and tonsillectomies) have already been radically reduced. A number of services such as care for the elderly, diabetes and audiology have been moved out of the hospital.
Residents with concerns about cuts or privatisation at the Whittington can share their experiences via e DWHC’s Whitt Watch campaign, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Our NHS should stay public and should be run for public benefit rather than to line the pockets of private contractors.
The creeping privatisation introduced by Labour is gathering momentum under this government. We will join residents in fighting it.
Islington Green Party