Cutting medical secretaries causes X-ray backlog

Recent reports have uncovered a massive backlog of thousands of untyped x-ray reports in the Mater Hospital. This gives us a glimpse of what the cuts planned by the Belfast Health Trust management and the Assembly Executive will mean. The backlog was caused by a lack of medical secretaries to process the reports. Ridiculously, the Belfast Trust has threatened to slash 50 more of these workers, while cutting the pay of another 120!  

Management have said that this will be take place through ‘natural wastage’ and voluntary redundancy, but the closure of the Elliott Dynes Rehabilitation Unit shows that these assurances from the Belfast Trust’s bosses are worthless. Regardless, medical secretaries are skilled workers who perform vital administrative work, allowing the health service to function. The loss of these jobs will inevitably lead to a less efficient service and longer waiting lists. The number of people awaiting hospital appointments has already increased 27% over three months this year!

Through the demonstrations they have held and their positive response to consultation about action from their unions, it is clear that these workers are determined to fight the Trust’s proposals. Any action taken by these workers must receive the support of all trade unionists- they are not just fighting to defend their jobs, but our health service. It will undoubtedly be the first of many struggles to come, as the parties in the Assembly deepen their assault on public spending, which has already seen £813 million cut from our health service since 2009.

 

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