The continual failure of ministers to address the proper funding of the NHS is plunging the health service into a deep crisis - in the year that the NHS celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Unite, the country’s largest union which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the extra £350 million earmarked in last November’s budget to tide the NHS over the winter was ‘woefully inadequate’.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “The NHS celebrates its 70th birthday this summer, but the government has put it in intensive care by failing to provide sufficient funding to secure the future of one of Britain’s greatest achievements.
“The pitiful sums that chancellor Philip Hammond made available in the budget smacks of political revenge because NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens dared to speak out plainly about the scale of the financial crisis. If this is the case, it is a stain on Theresa May’s government.
“The current crisis has seen an unprecedented number of health professionals speaking out – as they have a professional duty to do so – about the threat to patient care. It is the frontline professionals who are doing all they can to protect patients, not ministers.
“Every winter the NHS comes under intense pressure - this is something that can be planned for, but ministers have spectacularly failed to rise to the challenge this year.
“As speculation mounts that Jeremy Hunt’s disastrous six year tenure as health secretary is about to end in a forthcoming cabinet reshuffle, that moment can’t come soon enough.
“A new health secretary, with a generous spirit and open mind, is needed to reboot the NHS; give confidence to staff and patients; and fight the Treasury for a massive cash injection. Such a financial boost would be the best birthday present the NHS could receive.”
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.