Healthcare workers protest against NHS cuts

01-11-2006

Healthcare workers protest against NHS cuts
Hundreds of healthcare workers will lobby parliament today in protest at budget cuts in the NHS.

Brought together by the NHS Alliance (NHSA), a new alliance representing all the unions and organisations for NHS staff, the workers will warn MPs that they believe progress in the NHS is under threat because of the cuts.

Controversy over budget cuts has raged during the past few weeks as the Conservatives claimed that over 20,000 jobs would be lost due to cost-cutting measures.

But figures released from the Department of Health this week said that only 903 compulsory redundancies have been made in the NHS in England.

Other issues to be raised by the protestors include changes being made to the NHS that have not involved staff in the consultation process and the best local care being threatened by the fragmentation of the NHS.

A spokesman for NHSA said that the protest was necessary as "staff morale is at an all-time low".

"NHS staff are proud of the real improvements in the health service in recent years, but we are increasingly worried that progress is now under threat," the NHSA said.

"We support changes that improve patient care, but there is too much top-down change that has not won the support or involvement of the staff who have to implement it. The slow down in spending is being handled badly, with real cuts on the ground. And we are very worried that the NHS is being fragmented with a rapid dash to the private sector and the introduction of competition."

The NHSA added: "The government should do more to recognise the progress made by their extra money and our hard work, and should make sure that change and reform involves the staff who will have to deliver it."

Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, commented: "This lobby will show the depth of opposition within the NHS to the government's rushed reforms that are causing so much damage."

Groups under the NHSA umbrella include the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Midwives, the TUC and Unison.


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