Thursday, November 14, 2019

Labour's four day week chaos

The Labour party has unveiled plans  for a 32-hour working week - equivalent to four days.

However, to put it politely, they don't appear to have thought this through.

Labours shadow health spokesman

Yesterday morning Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth appeared to say that Labour proposals for 32 hour working week – equivalent to a four day week – would not apply to the NHS, calling the idea “nonsense.”

Then the Shadow Chancellor said that these proposals would “apply to all” including the NHS, and that Ashworth had only meant the application of this policy to the NHS would “not be an overnight thing.”

This news comes as an independent report shows that more than a thousand residents of Cumbria would have their operations cancelled each year under a Corbyn government as a result of Labour’s plans to remove independent sector hospital capacity from the NHS.

Labour plans for a 32 hour week could not be implemented in the NHS, even over a ten year period,  without exacerbating labour shortages in the NHS which would mean ward, department and hospital closures in areas like Cumbria.
The NHS has been suffering from a national shortage of doctors, nurses and medical professionals for decades, especially in areas like Cumbria. In North, West and East Cumbria as a whole we have a 20% vacancy rate for GPs but it is much worse in some parts of the county.

That’s why the government decided in 2016 to open five new medical schools and increase by 25% the number of doctor training places, but the impact of that will take decades to work through because that’s how long it takes to go from being a medical student to a specialist consultant.

If, as the shadow chancellor says, Labour’s plans for a 32-hour week apply to the NHS, even over a ten year period, this would put even greater stress on the local health service in areas which are already seriously short of professional staff resource. Making that problem even worse would make service closures inevitable in areas like ours.

If Labour’s plans did not apply to public services like the NHS, the people who work in those services would understandably feel cheated and morale would be knocked for six, hitting recruitment and retention.

They have not thought it through. Corbyn’s Labour isn’t competent to run a bath, never mind our NHS.

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