King’s College Hospital in special measures

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Kings College Hospital

‘The government and its regulator, NHS Improvement, are simply not facing up to the enormous challenges that the NHS is currently facing’. So said Lord Kerslake in The Guardian as he resigned as chair of King’s College Hospital Trust on 10 December. The next day, NHS Improvement placed the Trust in financial special measures. Of course the government is underfunding the NHS. But Kerslake was also part of the problem, boasting of the £80m yearly ‘savings’ he had agreed since 2015, ‘twice the average of other hospitals.’ His parting thoughts? ‘We could fight back, but this puts King’s future at even greater risk.’

Not the protest we need. The trust’s 2013 takeover of PFI-indebted Princess Royal Hospital in Bromley has contributed to its problems. The financial situation is now disastrous: the 2016-17 planned deficit of £1.6m reached £59.6m, and the current deficit is now over £90m.

The patients and staff are left to deal with the reality – that there is not enough of anything. Not enough money, not enough staff, not enough beds: the trust often works to over 100% capacity. There is not enough time to treat people as they need and deserve to be treated, not enough time to have a break. Staff stay behind each shift to cover essential tasks that simply won’t get done otherwise. The hard work only just plasters over the gaps. ‘Special measures’ will mean more monitoring and pressure. We need the fight back Kerslake ran away from: not just against new savings, but to restore what has been cut to date.

King’s healthcare worker

Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 262 February/March 2018

 

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