11 April 2011
The Green Party's health spokesperson has called on nurses to unite against the draft Health and Social Care Bill.
Stuart Jeffery, himself a registered nurse, has written to the Royal College of Nursing's president, Andrea Spyropoulos, and its general secretary, Peter Carter, calling for the RCN to come out fighting against the devatating changes to the NHS being driven through by the coalition government. He has pointed out that the internal market deprives the NHS of up to half a million nurses.
Stuart Jeffery said: "At a time when nurses are propping up the NHS with increasing levels of unpaid overtime and clinicians are becoming concerned about the NHS reforms, the RCN needs to take a strong stance against the government's NHS reforms. (1) The quality of care is suffering as cuts bite into the NHS, and yet the government wants to waste even more increasing the scope of the internal market and in privatising more hospitals. (2) This is simply immoral.
"There is enough money tied up in running the internal market to fund up to an additional 500 000 nurses, far more than we need, yet the government is wedded to the idea that a market can run the NHS. It is time to challenge the 'market knows best' attitude which will spell the end of the NHS. I have written to the RCN urging them to come out fighting against the immoral health bill and to fight to save the NHS. I hope they take note.
"Nurses have key roles to play in health care. Fighting to keep the NHS running, and out of the hands of corporate sharks, is one of them. Let us hope the RCN takes up the challenge."