Health campaigner warns of pressure

A HEALTH campaigner from Suffolk has warned that job losses and cost-cutting is pushing NHS staff to breaking point.Peter Mellor, from Felixstowe, told a conference of activists and campaigners that health workers in the county were coming under increasing pressure.

By Richard Smith

A HEALTH campaigner from Suffolk has warned that job losses and cost-cutting is pushing NHS staff to breaking point.

Peter Mellor, from Felixstowe, told a conference of activists and campaigners that health workers in the county were coming under increasing pressure.

Thousands of protestors joined marches across the country on Saturday to oppose NHS cutbacks and Mr Mellor addressed more than 100 people in Cambridge as part of the Day of Action.


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He told activists: “The practitioners are keeping the service running despite the management. They are fed up to the back teeth with the way they are having to work and the additional load on those remaining who are in fear of their jobs.

“The recent pay award was discussed at the meeting. It clearly represents another major load on the camel's back and I think by and large the workers were saying they are just not valued and it is as if nobody is faintly interested in what they are doing.”

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He warned that the struggling NHS would be in even more turmoil if loyal doctors and nurses were no longer able to cope.

Speaking yesterday, he added: “In Felixstowe we have gone down from 84 beds to 16 in the last three years.

“We know that they are going to close the Bartlet Hospital and sell it, and we are waiting to see if the work on the Felixstowe General Hospital will happen.

“We have been offered care in the community but my personal concern is that it will be inadequate, there will be an extra stealth tax for patients and it will be a more expensive system for the Primary Care Trust.”

The nationwide action involved nurses, doctors, hospital cleaners and other health workers and Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, said it was a “testament to the growing number of people worried about the future of our NHS”.

Health minister Rosie Winterton said “every union and stakeholder” had signed up to the principles of the NHS Plan, which set the course for reform over ten years.

She said: “Even despite financial challenges in a minority of organisations, the NHS has continued to deliver first-class patient care, including record low numbers of people waiting for treatment, the fastest ever treatment for cancer patients, over nine in 10 admissions to A&E treated within four hours and the lowest number of cancelled operations since 1999.”

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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