The Trust’s New Clothes
Once upon a time, the managers of a hospital were approached by government ministers. The ministers grandly unveiled a huge loom, and an empty bale of thread. They said that a wonderful new uniform had been invented for the hospital staff to wear. This uniform was made of a magic, golden thread that could only be seen by people who were honest and pure of heart.
The ministers held the cloth up for inspection, and they made actions as if they were working hard, weaving away on the empty loom. However, the hospital managers could see nothing at all! Not wanting to appear foolish, they all remarked on the beautiful pattern and delicate embroidery of the cloth.
When finally the ministers stopped “working” and they said that the uniforms were complete, the managers took it in turns to try on the new uniform. None of them wanted to let the others know that they were not honest, so they all commented on how light it was to wear, and how beautifully it fitted them. Indeed, they could hardly feel it at all!
A Golden Thread Group was appointed to report back on the suitability of the cloth. The group said it would be the answer to all the Trust’s problems, and would even reduce hospital-borne infections.
When the uniforms were ready, the managers put them on and proudly paraded through the county, asking everyone what they thought of the new uniform. They even offered incentives to hospital staff who could find the greatest number of admirers.
Everything went well, until at one public meeting, a union rep at the back of the audience piped up, “But they haven’t got any clothes on!”
The people realised they had been fooled all along. They forced the managers to give them back their old uniforms, and provide money to mend them. They had been rather neglected recently, due to budget cuts to pay for the new golden cloth. The material was stretched too thinly and had grown quite threadbare in parts.
Under threat of action, the managers reluctantly complied, and returned the uniforms to the ownership of the public. The managers promised to ensure that they would always be fit for purpose, and they all lived happily ever after.
Unfortunately, the above account is a fairytale and will continue to be so unless health unions get off their knees and fight back against privatisation of the NHS.
The public have been conned into thinking that New Labour, and the Tories after them were not privatising the NHS. Foundation Trusts are a blow to the heart of the NHS – of the idea of a universal, joined up health system, which provides comprehensive, high quality medical care free to everyone. Combined with the Health and Social Care Bill, we are seeing the end of the NHS.
We need to fight back. Join the Socialist Party. Support TUSC (Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition) in its attempt to build a new party for ordinary people, not politicians who only represent the interest of the rich.