From 2012: Serco Sacks 140 Medical Staff in Suffolk

This is another article from Private Eye. In their issue for 16th-29th November 2012 the Eye covered the way SERCO were going to shed 140 jobs after taking over the management of the NHS community services in Suffolk, similar to what the company had previously done when it took over the out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall.


Suffolk Punch

No sooner does outsourcing giant Serco take over NHS community services in Suffolk, including nursing and community hospitals, than nearly 140 jobs are to be axed.

It’s little consolation for front-line clinical staff, such as health visitors, that they won’t have to face compulsory redundancy. They can volunteer, be redeployed or wait to be “phased out” – unlike their colleagues in HR, finance and admin who will be swiftly shown the door as the “Serco Global Business Division”, backed by a “dedicated qualified accountant in India”, takes over.

When Serco won the £140m three-year contract NHS Suffolk – which includes specialist services such as cardiac rehabilitation, neurological services and speech and language therapy – the company pledged that patients would not notice any changes and would be able to access NHS services in the same way as before.

So how will it fulfil that role with fewer front-line health workers, who are already stretched caring for the growing numbers of people who are being cared for and treated in the community, rather than hospitals?

The company says clinical staff will be freed up by extra administrative backup, reduced bureaucracy, changes to the way people work and increased use of mobile and other technology.

This all sounds very similar to the Serco service model for the out-of-hours GP service that it runs in Cornwall – which in the summer was criticised by the Care Quality Commission for, among other things, not employing enough “qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people’s needs”.

In short, it’s another example of how local NHS services have been cut under the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS in order to maximise the profits of yet another multinational.

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