Unison’s Role in the NHS Crisis

Another day and another report suggesting that staffing shortages are killing people in NHS hospitals. Today it’s the Health Select Committee, where last week it was Sir Bruce Keogh who said:

“Statistical analysis performed showed a high correlation between in-patient to staff ratio and a high hospital standardised mortality rates score. When the review teams visited the hospitals, they found frequent examples of inadequate numbers of nursing staff in some ward areas.”

Guido has been crunching the numbers at the 14 hospitals that were investigated by Keogh and he’s found an obvious staffing loophole that would free up more front-line workers: scrapping the Pilgrims. Many of the hospitals or trusts are too incompetent to store data on the amount of time they pay their staff not to do their jobs, but instead act as full-time trade union officials through the controversial and absurd “Facilities Time” system. Nurses, like Jane Pilgrim, are paid not to help heal the sick and needy but spend their time politically agitating instead. All of Guido’s previous work on Pilgrims, and the case against them, can be read here.

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust has three full time Pilgrims, costing £61,000 per year.  Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has 2.45 “full time equivalents” at the cost of £100,000, while Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals have one and half as do the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust are spending £14,000, while Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, £17,000. Guido presumes that hospitals that do not hold the data have a similar level of trade union activity blocking front-line care. There are not enough nurses, so why is the NHS subsidising Unison members to take part in political activity rather than doing their jobs? The trade union is complicit in this crisis.



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