A new report on the NHS by the House of Lords calling for more long-term planning and funding for the health service was welcomed by Unite, the country’s largest union, today (Wednesday 5 April).
The House of Lords Select Committee on the Long-term Sustainability of the NHS criticised ‘a culture of short-termism’ prevailing in the NHS and adult social care, as well as the inability of the Department of Health to look beyond the next few years.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “This report is very welcome and echoes many of the things that Unite has been saying in recent times about the crisis facing the NHS.
“It makes the important point that a tax-funded, free-at-the-point-of-use NHS is the most efficient way of delivering health care and should remain in place for the future - and that this should be underpinned by a real term cash injection.
“It is clear that the NHS has suffered because there appears to be no long-term planning, so the peers’ recommendation that a new, independent Office for Health and Care Sustainability should be created to look at health and care needs for the next 15-20 years is a step in the right direction.
“The committee homes in on the link between continued pay restraint and plummeting morale and workforce retention and, again, this is something that health secretary Jeremy Hunt might like to take note of, following last week’s measly one per cent pay rise for NHS staff.
“There are three pillars needed for the NHS going forward – more funding; greater accountability, so the left hand knows what the right hand is doing; and a long-term integrated plan.
“However, we do have a concern about the future funding of training so there is a skilled new generation of health workers – that’s why we are so against the ending of nursing bursaries in England in September.
“After the weasel words spouted by Tory ministers about the NHS since 2010, this report is well-balanced and thought-out, with pragmatic action points.”
Unite has 100,000 members in the health service.
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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.