Divide to Rule

Poor care may arise within the NHS or prvate sector, regardless of staff numbers. Of course, there are many definitions of what poor care is. The UK focus, by campaigning groups and major bodies and individuals, appears to be the NHS. Save the NHS, they declare. Meanwhile, poor care in the private sector- hospital or care homes – is largely ignored, with many NHS nurses not feeling ‘connected’ to their private sector counterparts, as if nurses are inhabitants of seperate worlds. Some, NHS nurses even call for nursing students to only have placements within the NHS. Such polarity may be shortsighted. The NHS is being privatised, with companies such as Virgin operating under the NHS logo, and this trend will accelerate, until all NHS services are franchises of multinational companies, as is overwhelmingly the case in America, where large ‘care chains’ reduce staffing numbers, employ less qualified staff, reduce pay rates, and offer the nurse such business friendly innovations as ‘split shifts’. Thus, the distinction between ‘public versus private’is a rapidly diminishing one, and anyone thinking otherwise has only to look at the experience of Hinchinbrooke NHS Trust, which was taken over by the private equity group Circle, which initiated large scale staff reductions. Current guarantees of maintaining national pay scales will evaporate, they are only there to deceive the gullible. The NHS is becoming redundant in terms of who will run it, and nurses and nursing standards will have to operate within a more stark business culture than at present. Go to a hospital in a poor district of America to see the future of Uk hospital care. Nurses there are commodities, working for the same company who owns the local care home; they might work in both establishments, with theatre nurses supplementing their reduced hours with shifts in a care home. There is little distinction; ‘flexibility’ is king – an adaptable and compliant workforce is the rule. That is why it is extremely myopic for nurses not to combine together from different sectors, because demarcations will be eroded, and false ideas of seperateness are only used to ‘divide and rule’.   It is only by being united that nurses will be able to withstand the onslaught of business-driven care provision. This can be done. In America, the National Nurses United union actively demonstrate against split shifts and other issues which might be detrimental to good care. Why not here




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