Jeremy Hunt’s plans for accident and emergency units in London were ‘a cause for considerable concern’ for the capital’s residents, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today (Wednesday 30 October).
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “With A&Es coming under increasing strain and the winter looming, people will be deeply concerned by this move which will see the Hammersmith and Central Middlesex departments downgraded.
“While the departments at Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals may well continue for the foreseeable future, Hunt’s track record since becoming health secretary in 2012 does not engender confidence that this is any more than a reprieve.
“We need far more assurance that this move does not mean losing skilled frontline staff with the service under tremendous pressure already, and access to emergency care made even more difficult for patients.
“Since coming to office, the health secretary has been responsible for cuts to thousands of jobs and many closed wards. He has allowed waiting times to rocket and done little to stem concerns that the NHS is not safe in Tory hands.
“What he has achieved during his tenure is to ensure that millions in lucrative contracts have found their way into the pockets of the private health industry.
“People are right to be worried about where his loyalties lie and should be very concerned as the weather deteriorates.”
Yesterday, the health secretary received a rebuff from the Court of Appeal over his attempts to reduce services at Lewisham hospital.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
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.