1,000 jobs could be cut in NHS locally - trade union warning

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A LEADING trade unionist warned an audience at Burnley Mechanics the Government’s proposals for the NHS would lead to 1,000 local job cuts and deny people future major medical advances.

Unison’s regional health organiser Tim Ellis said last year’s announcement of a 20% cut in NHS budgets meant 1,000 people in East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust would lose jobs, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

He said: “It will be a disaster for the NHS if the cuts are implemented.”

Mr Ellis went on to criticise the Government’s Health and Social Care Act and suggested the Prime Minister’s recent claims to love the NHS were disingenuous and instead he loved the business opportunities the NHS presented.

Dr David Wright, a Lancashire GP and council member of the British Medical Association, who also opposes the Bill, pointed out the act removed the basic requirement that the NHS provide a comprehensive health service.

He added that while the Bill didn’t privatise the NHS it did allow health care companies to use the NHS brand and logo and effectively turned the service into a funding mechanism to pay private health providers.

He said: “You will be treated by the NHS, but it won’t be the NHS that provides the service, but a private profit-making company.”

Dr Wright also criticised the democracy of the Coalition Government pointing out that neither party had the Health and Social Care Act in their election manifestos.

He said that, while the proposed changes to commissioning services were good for patients, they weren’t necessary and his practice in Lancaster was an example of an effective system that hadn’t needed to involve private health companies.

The meeting unanimously passed a motion opposing both the cuts and the introduction of the Health and Social Care Bill.