Cuts Watch #281: Casualty and maternity units
New reports suggest that NHS cuts are going to hit hard. A survey by the Sunday Telegraph found that more than 30 hospitals have either closed maternity or casualty units since the election or plan to do so. And the Nursing Times today reports on a “bonfire of acute nursing posts” after analysing quality, innovation, productivity and prevention plans for more than 20 PCTs: most plan to make efficiency savings demanded by the government by cutting the use of hospital care – this will usually mean fewer nurses.
The Telegraph found that six hospitals have downgraded accident and emergency departments, four of them permanently; this will be especially embarrassing for the government, as Conservative candidates campaigned volubly against all plans for A&E closures and Andrew Lansley promised that closures would only be allowed if local people agreed with them.