Unite the union strongly opposed to £70 million further cuts to healthcare
Proposals seek to undermine the founding principles of the NHS – free at the point of delivery
Unite members and representatives in the health service across Northern Ireland turned out at the exceptional Board meetings in the five Health Trusts today. Speaking after his attendance at the Belfast meeting Unite lead Regional Officer for Health, Kevin McAdam said:
“We showed up to expose the fact that these are not savings plans but Department of health imposed cuts. Unite raised the fact that the Department through the permanent secretary can impose £70 million of cuts while refusing to implement the derisory 1% pay recommendation from April past.
“Trusts’ plans include measures to reduce care packages and residential care provision for our elderly together with delaying ‘elective surgery’ for things like orthopaedic surgery – hips and knees – and eye operations.”
Kevin added these measures will mean that it is a bad time to be sick in Northern Ireland.
“We were disappointed that the Trusts choose to move ahead with the consultation in spite of representations from trade unions, community representatives and politicians to reject the proposals and go back to the Department to seek more funding. DUP representatives were conspicuous by their absence throughout.
“Unite will be strongly opposing these cuts that will be so devastating to our older persons and the infirm during the deliberately short (six week) consultation. Today’s meetings just confirm that the Trusts will do the bidding of a Permanent Secretary who is taking the opportunity to drive through Tory-style cuts in the absence of a locally-elected Health Minister.
“Unite’s regional health committee will meet urgently to prepare responses to the consultations. We will not sit back while huge cuts are taken out of staff jobs and wages. These proposals seek to undermine the founding principles of the NHS – free at the point of delivery!
“The NHS will be seventy years old on July 5th next year. At this rate this elderly lady is in as much need of help, as the elderly now facing a lottery, a long wait for care, or what appears to be the Department’s preferred route – private medicine”, Mr McAdam ended.