This morning I spoke at our health conference. Whilst it was a great pleasure as always to speak to the conference – and address those who continue make the NHS the greatest achievement of our movement – I wasn’t able to give the speech I wanted to give.
Instead, I spoke about the snap general election that was called last week and the risk it poses to our NHS and to public service workers everywhere. Because of that threat, that election must now be our focus. In six weeks the country goes to the polls and everything that matters to UNISON members is on the line. Their jobs, their wages, our public services, our NHS, our communities and our families.
A general election is always a moment when we decide the future of our country, but perhaps never more so than this time with Brexit on the horizon.
After all this Tory government have done, they’re now seeking a renewed mandate to make public servants worse off, easier to fire or even put more of them out of work.
Nowhere is this threat clearer than in the NHS.
Everyone who works in the NHS – as well as those who use it – know the damage that this government have done to our health service over the past seven years. We all know that they can’t be trusted when it comes to election promises either.
Theresa May said – over and over again – that there would be no snap general election, yet she went back on her word last week. And no-one should forget that just two years ago, Jeremy Hunt and George Osborne (remember him) said they’d properly fund our NHS.
Instead, as the need becomes greater, funding becomes more scarce, and our health service is forced to do more with less.
That’s why we must do everything to show the British people in the weeks ahead that the Conservative Party are the problem, not the solution. That they can never be trusted with our NHS. And that we will be watching very closely for their latest false promises.