1 min read

Editor’s blog Monday 10 May 2010: Just another manic Monday


Well, this is fun, isn’t it?

Uncertainty over the deal, coalition or understanding to form a new government lingers like a fart in a spacesuit.

I will be putting some links up later to pieces we’ve published which may help contextualise the policy plans likely to be coming towards us.

The future of commissioning looks less rosy than ever, as HSJ reports that Gary Belfield has handed in his notice.

Meanwhile, a couple of legal cases have hugely significant repercussions for the period ahead.

Firstly, The Independent reports on a class action being taken against a consultant surgeon who repeatedly highlighted concern about his workload to managers and asked for help.

The consultant did not receive support in a timely way, it appears. This could be the biggest medical class action against the NHS so far – unless North Staffs get some concerted action under way.

Another report in The Guardian highlights a victory by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) in their legal challenge to attempts to change civil servants’ terms and conditions regarding redundancy pay.

Policy people in the NHS should look at this one very closely indeed. There are going to have to be some very crunchy conversations between the new government (or its – ahem – ‘independent’ NHS Board) and unions and other representative organisations about the future shape and size of workforce.

In simple terms, one of the questions ahead is going to be ‘which do we cut – jobs or wages?’ This will not be welcome. It has not been welcome in the private sector over the past few years, but it has broadly happened, reducing the severity of the recession.

Yet only a very short-sighted approach ignores the law. This move was clearly ill-conceived: the court is right that without required negotiation, imposing such a change is unlawful.