David Cameron’s £500 million sticking plaster bailout for struggling A&E departments will do nothing to reverse the crisis of his government’s making, what is needed is a change of policy, says Unite.
Unite, the country’s biggest union, warned that unless this government does a policy U-turn and ditches the controversial Health and Social Care Act the future of universal, free at the point of use healthcare in England hangs in the balance.
Soon, £20 billion of NHS contracts will be in private hands, and with GP-led Clinical Commissioning Groups now forced to put NHS services out to competitive tender joined-up working between different services will be much harder to achieve.
Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, said: “David Cameron has the gall to speak about GP practitioners working more closely with hospitals and community services while his Health and Social Care Act has ripped the heart out of the once integrated health service.
“The £500 million pound sticking plaster will do nothing to turn back the clock on the damage this government is inflicting on the NHS and A&E, with waiting lists hitting their highest levels in nine years a temporary fix is not enough.
“This is an NHS emergency of the government’s own making. The NHS 111 non-emergency hotline debacle shows that cut price competitive tendering leads to complete meltdown.
“Is this really the future we want for our NHS? A&E and maternity units forced to close, growing waiting lists, cut price services doled out by global corporate giants more interested in profit than people’s health.
“The government’s given us cuts, queues and chaos. Unite is calling on the great British public to join us in Manchester at the Conservative party conference to send a clear message that our NHS is not for sale.”
Evidence of the escalating crisis can be seen in today’s reports that private ambulance staff, employed by ERS Medical are being forced to sleep in tents because the £35 a day they are given for food and board is not enough to cover a hotel room.
Unite has launched a new short animated film in a bid to show the British public how the government’s NHS privatisation juggernaut is creating a fragmented Frankenstein-like health service with private companies queuing up to cash in on their ill health. Watch it here: Save our NHS.
For further information contact Chantal Chegrinec, Unite communications officer, on 07774 146 777
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey