Yesterday, I received a letter from Cornwall Council staff expressing concerns about their future. It was not signed, which is probably a measure of the anxiety that affects many workers at the council during these times of insecurity, cuts and privatisation.
The letter outlines how staff have been taking part in a consultation on integrating Adult Care workers with health colleagues to form an Early Intervention Service. There has been frequent mention at the council about closer working between health and social care. Reports have come to the health scrutiny committee, although I had quite a different impression of how it would work.
The letter goes on to say that although employees often put in extra hours, they will now be expected to work weekends without enhancement and to work longer hours.
Of great concern also was the final draft of the consultation about integration with the Peninsula Community Health company. This was controversially created as a Community Interest Company to run health services in Cornwall outside the NHS. It only has a contract to deliver healthcare until 2016. After that, the contract will go out to tender and could be awarded to Serco or Virgin or any of the other private companies that are taking on NHS work.
The concern is that workers will lose their permanent contracts and face a future moving from one provider to another – if they keep their jobs – as contracts change. The writers ask that elected members get involved in the decisions that are being taken.
I will ask questions tomorrow but have many concerns. It is getting to the point where every time the words ‘reform’ and ‘radical’ are heard proposals to cut jobs, wages, terms and conditions are never far behind.