Sunday, 30 September 2012

Not great news for health care in Cornwall (or Labour on the NHS)

The reputation of private companies involved in the NHS took a bit of a battering yesterday as it was revealed that Serco, the firm which provides out of hours GP care across Cornwall, sometimes only had one GP on duty for 535,000 people.

The Primary Care Trust, which commissioned Serco, has said it has taken action to address the problem and numbers won't fall that low again.

But then, it's not just the private sector which has failed Cornwall. Three cottage hospitals have had to close down beds because they can't get the staff to run them, according to the BBC.

Local NHS managers are determined to press ahead with plans to introduce a system of 'regional' (ie lower) pay for workers in the south west. But if they can't recruit enough staff on national pay rates, what hope is there once lower regional rates are adopted?

And also yesterday, on the first day of the Labour Party conference, the party seemed to get in a bit of a tizzy about what exactly it's policy is on the NHS Bill. Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham seemed clear enough. "We will repeal the bill. Full stop" he tweeted. But then his boss, Ed Milliband, said quite categorically that they wouldn't in remarks to reporters. Not exactly clear.

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