The upper echelons of the National Health Service have taken a leaf out of the SS management guide with their duplicitous finger stepping treachery.

No sooner do they offer us money to leave in the shape of voluntary redundancy and mutually agreed resignation schemes than they withdraw the offer a fortnight later saying too many people are taking up the option.

I wish I could say I was surprised but it is the latest in a series of goalpost moving tactics as the NHS tries to save £20 billion over the next four years. Let’s home the tidal wave of revolution sweeping across north Africa and Arab Peninsula laps these shores. I have my pitchfork and torch at the ready.

 

The portals of Hell finally creaked open this week with confirmation that half of our workforce will be sacked in January as part of health minister Andrew Lansley’s vision of a new slimline National Health Service.  The zeal with which our impeding demise is being brought about hasn’t been matched since the sacking of Jerusalem and our glorious leader even managed to lace the bad news with a few jokes.

He reasoned that it was far better to know where we all stood with the minimum of ‘fuss’. And what cheerier way to do so than letting the condemned know by Christmas that we’d be starting 2011 on the dole. I could see a few disgruntled staff weighing up whether or not to throttle him as he appealed for us to remain professional while being cast to the wolves.

 

The Government  certainly likes kicking you while your down. We’d all accepted the fact that NHS primary care trusts would cease to exist in 2013 and many of us would be out of a job.

This morning we found out the powers-that-be have decided to move the whole process forward by a year to save money. We now expect the first redundancies at the end of October.

The assembled staff looked as ashen face as if Mount Etna had given them a dusting. Our glorious leader once again wheeled out his platitudes about ‘focusing on your work’ while the building comes crashing down round our ears.

“I can’t really offer much in the way of reassurance, can I? ” he piped.

No you can’t, I thought. So just spare us the sound of your voice which becomes more like the whine of the mosquito every time I hear it

 

The collective pallor of our workplace has taken on battleship grey as the first round of job cuts trundles over the horizon with its cleavers banging around in the back of the truck.

There is a listless air about the place like a ship caught in dead calm.

Biscuit consumption has risen, tempers are paper thin and there is some irritating person whose emigrating to Oz next week and delights in telling us how sorry she feels for us all.

Yup and I’ll be feeling sorry for her when that funnel-web spider bites her on the arse unless the box jellyfish or salt water crocodile gets in there first.

 

His Royal Highness descended from his eight floor eyrie today to tell us about his plans to implement a 30% cut in the workforce starting next month.

He began with the usual platitudes about remaining professional, focusing on what mattered and ignoring hearsay while delivering some telling body blows with his velvet padded gloves.

There was talk of a Mutually Agreed Redundancy scheme and the ‘September conversations’ which sound like the title of a Robert Ludlam novel but referred to an assessment process we’ll all undergo to decide who ends up filling the meat pies.

“I see this as a stage in our journey, not the end of it,” he told the bowed heads before graciously telling us he would remain in post until the termination of the primary care trust in 2013. A hardship indeed when you earn more than £100,000 a year

 

The fortunes of workplace departments tend to be cyclic and a new employee can join at any time during the cycle of eternal drudgery.

You could start work with a new influx of fellow staff and be part of a rebirth, which is like the dizzy ascent of a rocket. You could join an established team and flourish under its prosperity or be part of the dying planet that has been plundered of all its resources and is about to implode.

I’ve seen them all come and go a few times but am currently on a dying star that has had the misfortune to drift into the path of a black hole.

The dying star is the NHS and the event horizon is health minister Andrew Lansley who is happily dismantling the organisation into bite sized chunks for the private sector to consume. The Conservatives are nothing if not predictable.

The work place signs are all there. The lack of camaraderie, humour and patience. The aimless empty blustering of senior officers who offer false assurances while planning their own escape and the resignation and listless air of the condemned who plod on because they don’t know what else to do.

Guy Fawkes. Where are you when we need you?

 

Job cuts loom in the workplace but our boss insists on marching us over the cliff with a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts

It feels like being in some World War One film where the officer sends his men over the top knowing they are going to certain death with a ‘chin up, lads. We’ll be home for supper.”

I agree that there is little to be gained from wallowing in bad news but stop short of ignoring reality.

Management seem to live in some laudanum soaked alternative reality where they think everyone believes their cant and waffle. I felt my eyes begin to glaze after hearing the latest pep talk aimed at keeping us working until we enter the meat grinder and are left to our fate with a kind word.

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