This morning Conference debated a Health Service for the future. Although this ConDem government promised to protect the health service, there is going to be a shortfall of 2 billon pounds this year alone. Waiting lists are getting longer, services are being withdrawn and massive cuts are being implemented. You may ask where is all the money going.
Private Finance Initiatives or PFI are a cause of some of the shortfall. Hospital Trusts are having to pay back billions for new hospitals. For example, this year alone private companies are investing 55 billion on PFI projects but the public purse (that’s our money) will pay back 301 billion to these companies. Unison has voted that a future Labour government needs to nationalise these hospitals and refuse to pay big business any more money. Other ways that private companies are bleeding the NHS of funds is maintenance contracts, £1500.00 to put up a curtain rail and £1200.00 to maintain it.
Health Commissioning Boards are responsible for privatising the NHS. They are putting out for tender contracts for services such as Staffordshire where a 1 billion contract has gone out for end of life cover and cancer services. As one private company stated, they are not in the business of saving lives but making profits.
NHS staff are looking at downgrading – the evaluation system being run by a private company. NHS staff are currently being balloted for industrial action. Apparently if you are a Chief Executive Officer or a Senior member of staff, you are worth a nice bonus. But the Minister for Health is ignoring the recommendations of the Pay Review Body and has decided that NHS staff are not worth a rise of 1%.
Next year is a general election. If left in power, this ConDem government will fully privatise the Health Service. Unison says that both health and social care should be free at the point of delivery. It is your responsibility to make sure we have a government that will do this. Mary