Campaign Update: A Story From the Frontline

The success of the Mass March on Saturday 22nd September when over 500 (police figures) people turned out to demonstrate their disgust about the £99 million of local cuts and their impact, has been a catalyst for Campaign Group members to step up the level of street activity to take the message to the people. 

But of equal importance, the street campaigning is a great opportunity to listen to the experiences of people in our community. This can inform what we do, how we go about things and keep the impact of these cuts in the fore front of how we develop our campaign. 

Street events have been taking place all over the City as well as East Riding venues such as Bridlington, Driffield, Goole, Anlaby and Cottingham. 

A staff member related the following. We are unable to reveal the NHS employee’s role, location or even gender, and they are in fear for their job. 

X has worked in the NHS for 15 years and what came across was the passion for the job, and the care and empathy that this person’s patients must experience on a day-to-day level. 

X told us that workload and associated paperwork is becoming untenable, especially over the last year. X said that patients are suffering and described the situation of a person with dementia, which made us wonder how on earth staff can work like this. X said you have to switch off to the obvious injustices meted out to patients because, “If you really thought about it, and I mean really thought about the consequences, you would go mad or have a breakdown”.

 X related to us that an issue had been raised at a Management level meeting. Afterwards they were locked out of the IT system because they had relayed the information by email before the meeting. They were only given their password back on the clear understanding that “controversial” issues must not be put in emails. 

Finally X said that in a meeting to do with recruitment (an increasingly rare scenario), the manager kept saying as if on a loop, “We need people who are tuned in to our culture”, which was clearly saying, “No one who will ask awkward questions”. 

The conversation began reluctantly on X’s part but by the end the hurt and disappointment at the way the job had been undermined by the cuts was palpable and left us in no doubt that the fight must go on.

By Dermot Rathbone.  

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