First foundation hospitals named
The first hospitals to have gained foundation status have been named
Read the BBC report here.
These hospitals, which will appropriately take on their new status on
April 1st, is a further move into a two tier health system and are the first steps towards an entirely private NHS.
These plans are part and parcel of the national privatisation agenda.
An agenda that is agreed upon by all three mainstream parties. Whilst
the government made great play of introducing a national pay scale for
all NHS workers (Agenda For Change) and spun some rather ludicrous
claims about what this would mean for health workers' pay packets this
scheme reinforces how the whole strategy of government towards health
cuts across any attempt to introduce a fair and equal deal for all.
Not only will foundation hospitals be able to opt out of the national
pay bargaining (possibly increasing wages to poach the best staff from
the surrounding area) large numbers of jobs that were traditionally done
by people employed directly by the NHS are now done by workers employed
by other firms - usually either contractors or nursing agencies. They
are of course not bound by any national deal and always, but always, pay
less for more work.
There are also concerns that foundation hospitals will concentrate
their resources on the areas that will generate the most secure return,
rather than where there is the most clinical need.
These plans for foundation hospitals were only just got through
Parliament last year and the significant back bench revolt is a pale
imitation of the concerns that trade unions, the work force and the
wider public have about what is happening to health care in this
There are a good number of excellent resources on the net which can
help us understand what the implication of foundation hospitals will be
on the health system at large. Whether its the impact of opting out and
further fragmenting the national network or how foundations will be free
to develop further ways of making money out of both patients and staff.
I've listed below a few resources that will help people assess the
impact of these moves. Feel free to send in others if you know of them.
What they say
Department of Health press release
UNISON against foundation hospitals
Article from Colchester Socialist Alliance
What's wrong with foundation status
Oxford campaign against foundation hospitals
The ten hospitals named are
Basildon and Thurrock General Hospitals
Countess of Chester Hospital
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals
Homerton University Hospital
Moorfields Eye Hospital
Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals
Royal Devon and Exeter
The Royal Marsden
Stockport NHS Trust
There are also another 13 are waiting in the wings hoping to be given foundation
There is no doubt that this will e a hard campaign to win. Once the
principle of foundations has been established it will be hard to argue
with local people why they at least should not benefit by their general
hospital going foundation.
Where the pro-foundations lobby say it will increase local say in the
running of the hospital the whole process will be a farce that involves
no real community involvement while the real power goes to the new-quangos
which will siphon away costs from the front line for administration of
the new beast.
What we have to make clear is that by pulling the NHS into the
private sector we will all suffer, the only civilised way of organising
a health system is for the public good and not for private profit. We
don't need foundation hospitals, all the so called benefits could be
achieved without eroding democratic, public ownership.