We hear the talk in the corridors and in team meetings. From speaking to colleagues in other NHS trusts, they’re hearing the same talk in their own workplaces.
Talk of recruitment freezes, of posts being deleted when people quit, constant memos offering voluntary early retirement schemes, offers to “buy” extra annual leave in exchange for a pay cut. No talk of actual redundancies…yet.
In the run-up to the general election we heard lots of nice-sounding manifesto pledges to protect the NHS from the public sector cuts. In reality, “protect” seems to mean “a bit less awful”.
Social services? They’re being hit worse than we are. Ditto voluntary agencies. Likewise education.
There’s a real sense at the moment that the cuts are starting to kick in. We’re going from hearing the headlines about it to actually seeing services shrinking or disappearing. My guess is that this is just the start.
Expect to see more headlines in the coming months of lengthening waiting lists for treatment. Of services that just aren’t there any more. Maybe the odd Baby P or two that got missed by already-overstretched child protection services being stretched even further.
We’re in for a bumpy ride.