Cuts, Closures and Deficits

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
21 December 2005
Carried as Amended

Conference is deeply concerned about the deficits being experienced by many NHS Trusts. In 2004-5, the NHS in England was overspent by £250 million, and estimates by researchers and academics have suggested a funding deficit of more than £1 billion for 2005-6. As a result, NHS Trusts have been ordered by the Department of Health to make savings of £700 million.

This situation is having a detrimental impact on both NHS services and staff, leading to service cuts and closures, staff redundancies, recruitment freezes, and reductions in the money available for staff training.

In a number of UNISON Regions, including Northern Region, there are serious financial deficits and NHS workers’ jobs have been targeted for redundancy.

Conference considers that the current financial problems are in large part due to the diversion of money away from NHS Trusts to Independent Sector Treatment Centres, and to the efficiency targets being imposed as a result of the Gershon review. Other factors include the higher costs of PFI and the instability being introduced by Payment by Results.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

a)Provide health branches with support in order to resist service closures and threats to staff jobs, terms and conditions and to encourage workplace meetings throughout all four countries of the UK;

b)Work with branches and regions in order to promote the establishment of coalitions against services cuts and closures with community and patient groups and key campaigns such as ‘ Keep the NHS Public’;

c)Work through UNISON’s Labour Link in order to press the Government for more funding for those NHS services that are under financial pressure, and to put an end to the siphoning off of money to the private sector;

d)Support Branches involved in lawful disputes;

e)Seek funding from the GPF for a campaign to raise public and membership awareness.