69th birthday is opportunity ‘to reboot’ the NHS for the benefit of all, says Unite
On its 69th birthday today (Wednesday 5 July), the government must heed the national mood and commit to a ‘reboot’ of the NHS as a well-funded health service that rewards its staff well and rejects ‘the creeping scourge of privatisation’.
That was the message from Unite, the country’s largest union which has 100,000 members in the health service, as there is a growing political realisation that the NHS and its 1.4 million staff can no longer be used as ‘the easy target for continuing austerity’.
Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: “The current political climate has reinforced the growing national mood that the public sector, including the NHS, can no longer be used as the easy target for continuing austerity.
“Today Unite makes a clarion call for the buffeted minority Tory government to boost expenditure on the NHS and other public services. The NHS should be fully funded so staff can deliver safe and quality services to patients.
“We also want the pay review body (PRB) to be free from any cap imposed by health secretary Jeremy Hunt and this Tory maladministration. It needs to retain its strong independent remit and to forensically examine the strong case for a generous pay recommendation for NHS staff.
“Health workers have had to endure seven years of austerity that has seen the majority of NHS staff seeing their incomes eroded by 17 per cent in real terms.
“The PRB recommendations should be honoured in full and Jeremy Hunt should resist the temptation to subvert those findings.
“Finally, the public are fed up with the slashing, trashing and privatising of our NHS, so the 44 controversial Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) in England need to be jettisoned, putting an end to the creeping scourge of privatisation.
“Unite regards STPs as a stalking horse for future privatisation which will benefit the shareholders of private healthcare companies and not the patients.
“We view the NHS’ 69th birthday as an excellent opportunity for a reboot of the health service to restore the principles espoused by its founder Aneurin Bevan in 1948.”