NHS bosses in the East Midlands face ‘a battle royal’ over the planned merger of hospitals in Burton and Derby, Unite, the country’s largest union, has warned.
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that such a move could threaten services, undermine patient care and herald possible job losses.
Unite will be lending strong support to the rally on Saturday (5 August) being held at the Washlands in Burton from 12.30, as protesters mobilise against the plans which are due to be reviewed in November.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter, who is addressing Saturday’s rally, said: “We want the trust, staff and public to highlight the core problem which is underfunding of the NHS.
“This is a better mantra rather than being constantly told by health secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS bosses ‘to change or else’.
“The trust is in financial difficulties. The uncertainty for staff, and the possible impact on patient care, is massive with the merger being promoted as the answer to the problem when, in fact, the merger proposals are generating that anxiety.
“There is a lack of clarity about the future and this is highlighted by there being no workforce plan yet.
“The claim is that patient care is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. But, we understand, that this is financially motivated change, so patient care will suffer in some areas.
“Unite will be joining with other concerned organisations, and the citizens of Burton and Derby in a battle royal to protest at what we see as an attack on services and patient care.
“The trusts’ claim their ‘focus lies in building a partnership of equals that will provide sustainable hospital services for our patients and their families’ – we don’t believe that.
“The opaque nature of the plans is a matter of serious concern – the time for transparency on the future configuration of services is urgently required.”
On their joint website, it is stated that “the boards of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust have now approved an Outline Business Case for the proposed collaboration between the two organisations”.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on: 020 3371 2065 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.