A call has been made to the powerful House of Commons Public Accounts committee to investigate the parlous state of NHS finances, following a report that 20 per cent of hospitals look set to be in deficit.
Unite, the country’s largest union with over 100,000 members in the health service, said today (Wednesday 22 January) that the state of NHS funding demanded urgent scrutiny by MPs.
The health think tank, the King’s Fund said, in a report, that one in five NHS hospitals are heading for a deficit by the end of the financial year. This dire financial plight was compounded by plunging staff morale.
Unite will be writing to the chair of the Public Accounts committee, Barking MP, Margaret Hodge to ask her committee to look at the current NHS funding model, which has had to grapple with the so-called Nicholson challenge of £20 billion of ‘efficiency savings’ by 2015 and a massive £3 billion reorganisation of the NHS.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: "The NHS in England has been forced into a precarious financial position with 22 per cent of hospitals now expected to produce financial deficits this year, with 13 per cent of the newly formed clinical commissioning groups facing a similar financial situation.
“With the government claiming to have invested more into the NHS, and with the accelerating pace of NHS privatisation, it is unclear whether this money is being invested in NHS services to patients or the newly marketised NHS – whose greatest beneficiaries are the private healthcare companies.
“Many of these new private NHS providers have complex financial structures and are registered for tax in tax havens, and, as a result, this is lost money to the Treasury and the taxpayer.
“With the NHS being put at serious financial risk, Unite believes that it has now become urgent that the current state of NHS funding comes under public scrutiny by the Public Accounts committee, so that the real picture of the NHS financial model can be understood.
“This would enable transparency being brought to NHS funding, with recommendations being made to protect the NHS and, ultimately, public safety and wellbeing.”
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1
Notes to editors:
- 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.