UNISON Press Release: Health and social care ‘sold out’ by health minister!






Today the Minister for Health unveiled a disastrous plan for cuts, closures and privatisation.   This follows a public consultation which he claims was a ‘ringing endorsement’.  This is an extraordinary distortion of reality.


By co-incidence or otherwise none of the trade union responses appear in the consultation report.  Those responses cover the views of a quarter of a million trade unionists.  If we include their families, we are speaking of the views of up to half a million people who are not endorsing the proposals.


UNISON also covered all of the public consultation meetings.  There was no ‘ringing endorsement’.  There were only unanswered questions and concerns.


With a contempt that has come to characterise the current administration of our health service – the Minister is simply doing what he always intended doing.   The only difference is that he is now exercising caution over the future of both the Causeway and Omagh hospitals where UNISON members have undertaken a major lobby and gained the support of the DUP at local level.


The same cannot be said for the future of A&E services and the future status of the Mater Hospital in Belfast, the Downe Hospital in Downpatrick and Daisy Hill in Newry.


If we were looking at a real plan to move the delivery of care near to the community and nearer to home then this would require a multi-million pound investment.   No such money is forthcoming.


There has been no Equality Impact Assessment of this plan.

Fundamental human rights to health care and social care are placed in jeopardy.


The closure of 180 beds in a health system which is already reeling from too many bed closures is designed to reduce nurses and other health care staff.  It will throw A&E departments into deeper crisis.


The closure of half of our NHS residential homes is removing choice from those requiring care.  Older people are being pushed towards paying for private care, using direct payments to become employers with all the damage that will do to their health and wellbeing, or doing without.


The People were consulted on a vision of ‘motherhood and apple pie’.  They were not consulted on plans to cut, close, downgrade and privatise.


UNISON will now consult with our members on our response to those who are making a mockery out of democratic engagement.