Wednesday, August 24, 2011

UNISON calls for a halt to UK Health and Social Care Bill


UNISON, the UK’s largest union, is today calling for an immediate halt to the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill. A lethal cocktail of economic uncertainty, spiraling waiting lists, and budget deficits, means that now is the worst possible time to bring in a major, untried, untested reorganisation, warns the union.

The latest statistics show NHS waiting times are increasing - those waiting 6 months or more for treatment have increased by 61% in the last year. And the Government’s demand for £20bn in so called “efficiency savings” is leading to ward closures, staff cuts and rationing across the country.

Christina McAnea, Head of Health for UNISON said: “If the Health and Social Care Bill goes ahead, the outlook for the NHS and patients looks bleak. The Government’s polices have already led to NHS patients waiting longer, often in great pain, for their operations.

“The Bill will make matters worse by taking the cap off the number of private patients that hospitals are allowed to treat. It will be an enormous temptation for cash strapped hospitals to boost their income by prioritising paying patients, pushing NHS patients even further down the ever-spiraling waiting lists.

“Even fourteen of the elite group of foundation trusts ended the last financial year in deficit, a grim warning for the future of NHS finances.

“The economic uncertainty and budget deficits add to this lethal cocktail and should be obvious to the Government that now is not the time to bring in this massive, damaging NHS reorganisation."

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