'Unpaid Jobseekers to deliver patient care in three Hospitals' - Guardian

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May 21 2012 10:23
'Unpaid Jobseekers to deliver patient care in three Hospitals' - Guardian

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/may/21/unpaid-jobseekers-deliver-patient-care

This article is currently headlining the Guardian website. I thought it was interesting in the light of all the various anti-workfare campaigns that are going on. It certainly gave some topical context when talking to my workmates about what I was up to on Saturday.

Quote:
After a pilot involving six unemployed people working unpaid for eight weeks to help feed patients and clean wards, Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals trust said it was aiming to extend the government work experience programme to all three of its hospitals.

The trust said all participants in the initial pilot were CRB-checked and received two weeks of training at Sandwell College before carrying out their tasks in hospital wards, involving "general tidying, welcoming visitors, serving drinks to patients, running errands, reading to patients and assisting with feeding patients".

Also interesting is how the union seems to have been caught on the back foot:

Quote:
Union representatives confirmed they had been consulted , and had initially consented to, plans that meant unemployed people could gain experience of work at the hospital.

But they said they had not agreed that the jobseekers would "play a direct role in patient care" and said they were very worried about the prospect of this happening.

'Work-Experience' is a really insidious euphemism for these schemes which I've seen cropping up. It was used by the manager of one of the Holland & Barret branches we were picketing on Saturday.

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May 21 2012 10:43

hmmm.... it's almost like they want to unite the anti-workfare campaign with the anti-NHS-privatisation campaign.

I think this shows how important it is to defeat workfare schemes, and that, far from just being a problem of the unemployed, workfare is an attack on all workers (whether in or out of work).

On that note, who's coming to the Brighton Benefits Campaign's anti-workfare conference on Saturday? Participants are meant to register via the form in the link.