The National Health Service is our movement’s greatest achievement, our country’s most treasured institution and plays a huge role in all our lives. It’s where most of us were born, where we’re cared for when we’re ill and in so many cases – including mine – the NHS saves lives.
Our NHS should never be starved of cash, when the money spent on our health service changes lives. Labour founded the NHS, and one of the greatest achievements of the last Labour government was to save the NHS after years of Tory under-investment. Yet after seven years of David Cameron and Theresa May the health service is once again at breaking point.
Today’s comments from NHS Providers that the health service faces a crisis in recruitment and retention is no surprise to UNISON members or anyone working in the NHS – we’ve known that for some time. But now we hear echoed back at us from NHS leaders the same concerns we have voiced in the past. Low-paid workers should never be driven out of jobs they love because of low pay. That some are shows just how much pressure those we rely on to care for us are under.
The pay cap is bad for health workers and it’s bad for the NHS.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party – which two weeks ago confirmed that it would end the wages cap and pay health workers properly – has made a commitment to ending hospital car parking charges. That’s something we’ve repeatedly called for because it’s unfair on patients and on NHS workers.
When it comes to the NHS, the facts are clear – Labour understands the investment and support our health service needs. The Tories just want to run the health service down.