Will Mass NHS Job Losses Affect Standards of Care in Hospitals?

Royal Bolton Hospital announced this week that it would be axing roughly 300 posts while Norfolk and Suffolk’s mental health trust stated that up to 500 jobs could be lost as a result of cost-cutting measures.

The NHS has long been a target for cost-cutting measures as part of the coalition government’s wider austerity drive, aimed at cutting the deficit in the UK budget.  The ‘efficiency savings’ outlined for the NHS will equate to about £20bn of cutbacks by 2015.

Under huge pressure to meet savings targets, health trusts across the country are devising cost-cutting plans which often involve significant job losses. However, some experts have suggested that these cost-cutting measures will be to the detriment of the standards of care patients receive.

A number of stories have emerged over the past year that suggests this may be the case. A ward nurse at the Royal College of Nursing’s 2012 annual conference suggest that some nurses were dealing with up to 18 patients at once, while a 2011 poll carried out by The Guardian suggested that 4 out of 5 GPs and hospital doctors felt that patient care had suffered as a result of the cuts.

Over the same period of time some similarly worrying statistics have emerged, with 2012 seeing the amount of people having to wait over 4 hours for treatment in A&E between April and July at it’s highest level since 2004/5 and many patients waiting longer for operations than in the past. The annual cost of medical negligence payouts has also increased year-on-year since the coalition government came to power.

The dedication of Britain’s doctors and nurses to their patients is unquestionable but as cuts start to hit harder, the trend seems to suggest that standards of care will worsen as budgets are trimmed.

With the constant stream of news stories detailing NHS budget cuts, it has been suggested that many patients who suffer from substandard levels of care in hospitals will be put off making medical negligence claims for fear of depriving their local health trust of vital funds.

However, many legal experts and medical negligence solicitors have been quick to try and allay these fears, outlining the fact that wider budget concerns should not affect a patient’s legal right to compensation if their quality of life has suffered as a result of unacceptable standards of care.

French cosmetics firm L’Oreal boosts US presence with Emiliani deal

French cosmetic group L’Oreal (EPA:OR) said it had inked an agreement to take over US hair salons supplier Emiliani Enterprises Inc, in a move to boost its coverage of American hair salons.

The buyer did not reveal the value of the transaction.

With this move, L’Oreal USA’s SalonCentric division extends its distribution in the country to 48 states, in line with the goal of the group’s Professional Products segment to constantly improve service to American hair salons, the buyer said.

Through a network of representatives and sales outlets, New Jersey-based Emiliani Enterprises supplies beauty products to professional hair salons. Its offering includes hair, nail and skin care products, as well as tools and sundries. The company, also known as Emiliani Beauty Supply, has super centres in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. It also provides services to vocational and private beauty schools in New Jersey and New York.

Over 100-year old L’Oreal has a diverse portfolio comprising 27 international brands which cover all forms of beauty, globally. The group employs a staff of 68,900 worldwide and generated revenues of EUR20.3bn (EUR26.3bn) last year. Its business includes segments Cosmetics, The Body Shop and Dermatology. L’Oreal’s hair care products aimed at professional hairdressers are marketed under the Kerastase, Redken, Matrix and L’Oreal Professionnel brands.

Unisys reports 3Q 2012 net loss

Unisys Corp. (NYSE: UIS) reported a third-quarter 2012 net loss of $12.4 million, or a loss of 28 cents per diluted share, which included $23.1 million of debt reduction charges and $28.9 million of pension expense.

Unisys Corp. (NYSE: UIS) reported a third-quarter 2012 net loss of $12.4 million, or a loss of 28 cents per diluted share, which included $23.1 million of debt reduction charges and $28.9 million of pension expense.

In the third quarter of 2011, the company reported net income of $78.6 million, or $1.63 per diluted share, which included $6.9 million of pension expense. Excluding debt reduction charges and pension expense, non-GAAP diluted earnings per share(1) in the third quarter of 2012 was 85 cents compared with $1.77 in the third quarter of 2011. On lower pre-tax income, the company reported a third-quarter 2012 income tax provision of $32.7 million compared with $33.4 million in the third quarter of 2011. The third-quarter 2012 tax provision included a charge of $9.2 million related to a change in applicable corporate tax rates in the U.K.

Revenue in the third quarter of 2012 declined 14 percent to $877 million compared with $1.02 billion in the year-ago quarter. Foreign currency fluctuations had a 4 percentage point negative impact on revenue comparisons in the current quarter.

Through the first nine months of 2012, Unisys reported net income of $47.6 million, which included $30.6 million of debt reduction charges and $75.0 million of pension expense. This compared to net income of $26.2 million for the first nine months of 2011, which included $77.6 million of debt reduction charges, $21.3 million of pension expense, and an $8.9 million charge related to the settlement of a non-income tax matter. Excluding these items, non-GAAP net income for the first nine months of 2012 was $165.3 million compared with $143.5 million for the comparable period of 2011. Revenue for the first nine months of 2012 declined 5 percent 2 percent on a constant currency basis(2) over the first nine months of 2011.

“After a strong first half of 2012, we saw softer services demand, particularly for short-term project work, in the third quarter,” said Unisys chairman and CEO Ed Coleman. “The lower services revenue, along with higher pension expense and debt reduction charges, impacted our results. However, we were pleased with margin improvement in our technology business, ongoing cost discipline across our company, continued improvements in service quality, and the early achievement of our 2013 debt reduction goal.

“Year to date, we have improved our profitability from 2011 levels. We are encouraged by reaction to recent product announcements, a growing reputation for service excellence, and a strong pipeline of opportunities,” Coleman said.

Unisys is a worldwide information technology company. For more information, visit www.unisys.com.