The outcry from hospitals, staff and the public at the dangerous and stupid proposals has meant that in the north and south-east, the board have been forced to scrap the idea of supercentres. One excellent victory that we can claim is that the Newcastle centre is now to remain fully open, and Sheffield also keeps many more functions.But the axe still hangs over essential labs at centres across the country.
From the north and south-east of England, processing labs are still earmarked for closure at Leeds and Tooting, and testing labs are planned to be shut at Brentwood, Leeds and Tooting.
NBS RCI reference labs, which crossmatch blood for patients with rare or reactive blood types, are critical to have closely linked with hospitals in the area. Despite this, NBS directors still think that they can get away with closing RCI labs in Manchester, Southampton, Cambridge, to cut costs.
The NBS has also taken advice that it should consider ending its role in antenatal screening by 2011. This will cost more jobs, and will eventually cost the wider NHS as well. The NBS is able to do this testing at a fraction of what it costs hospitals to do it themselves. If they in fact extended their involvement in antenatal screening, they could create more income for NHS Blood and Transplant, as well as lightening the load on hospital budgets. It seems the word foresight is missing from the NBS management dictionary.
Interestingly the revised proposed strategy will cost a predicted 600 jobs, in addition to those slashed in the midlands and south-west consolidation. Before the review the figure of 600 applied to job losses in total across the whole country. It should also be noted that bosses want to cut more jobs in the extremely understaffed collection teams – at a time when collected donations are way below target.
Meanwhile in the midlands and south-west zone, directors are desperately clinging to the supercentre model, reluctant to face the humiliation of abandoning their flagship Filton supercentre venture. This was purposely left out of the review as bosses knew McKinsey & Co. would advise against such a drastic cut, as has been proven in the other two regions. Large processing labs from Birmingham, Southampton and Plymouth are still destined to be packed off to this white elephant. Directors also want to inexplicably uproot donor typing and patient screening from Colindale, and the national Cord Blood Bank from Edgware, to Filton in Bristol. The only apparent reason for this is an attempt to further justify that the shiny hangar is not going to be a terrible waste of resources.
Now that the factual support is crumbling, we have to push on campaigning against centralisation. No decision on the fate of our health services should ever be made based on keeping someone’s CV unsoiled.
Thanks to all campaign supporters for your valuable help so far – we’re getting there, and reason is on our side – let’s keep on fighting!
We urge you all to: Visit the blog to find out how you can get involved at http://nbs-sos.blogspot.com/