Unite national officer for health, Barrie Brown said: “The financial chickens are coming home to roost big-time. This is what happens when you have growing demand for NHS services and then decide to impose £20bn of so-called ‘efficiency savings’.
“Health secretary Jeremy Hunt needs to start banging the cabinet table to get more funds in real terms from the chancellor George Osborne, otherwise the NHS will go into a financial melt-down.
“One of the main culprits for the deficit is the ruinous and extortionate payments for private finance initiatives (PFIs) that are dragging the trusts in England into eye-watering debt.
“The steps already taken to curb the ballooning bill for agency staff need to be accelerated. There needs to be much better workforce planning.
“The use of agency staff is caused by a recruitment crisis, especially for nurses. This has not been helped by low or non-existent pay awards in recent years which have contributed to a massive exit of staff; the ambulance service being a good example of staff leaving in large numbers.”
Notes to editors:
For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble in the Unite press office on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940.
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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.