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Thursday 22nd
posted by Luke James in Britain

Bosses banned staff from buying vital stationery supplies

BUDGET cuts at a crisis-stricken NHS hospital are so severe that staff were banned from buying paper, the Morning Star can reveal.

The desperate cost-cutting diktat was imposed at Addenbrooke hospital in Cambridge, which is under special measures.

With spending £1.2 million more than it receives every week, management rejected all requests for stationery for weeks.

That included paper and envelopes and left staff unable to send letters to patients about appointments or print medical reports for clinicians.

Labour shadow health minister Justin Madders told the Star: “It is deeply concerning if staff have been banned from ordering vital stationery.

“Hospitals all over the country are under pressure, and this is a sign of just how bad things have become.

“If hospitals cannot even afford to order stationery then this shows the enormity of failure by this government.”

Whistleblowers alerted the Star to the scandal.

Frustrated staff in at least two departments were down to their last reams of paper but bosses repeatedly denied requests for more.

One staff member wrote: “I was going to write to Jeremy Hunt but I couldn’t find an envelope.”

The extraordinary measure has been relaxed after senior consultants intervened.

Speaking anonymously to the Star, another staff member explained: “There is a committee to monitor every bit of expenditure on a weekly if not daily basis.

“We’ve got down to the last two reams of paper and every order was being turned down.

“It’s not the real problem and tinkering with these little things isn’t going to help solve the funding crisis.”

Further effects of funding cuts on services were revealed at a public meeting held yesterday by the Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust.

Management admitted that the maternity unit closed five times in August because of staffing shortages.

The trust is taking part in a pilot scheme to cut staff costs as part of the government’s new £5 billion savings drive, led by Labour Lord Carter.

A Cambridge University Hospital NHS Trust spokesman said: “We make sure that staff have what they need to do their jobs.”

The hospital has missed its clinical targets for the last two months, which campaigners say is a result of the cutbacks which has led to the Clinical Commission Group witholding £1.8 million in funding from August to September and a further £3.5m for October to November.