UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis visited the Bristol Royal Infirmary yesterday, meeting NHS staff and union reps, to hear first-hand about their concerns and fears as to what further drops in pay or conditions would mean for them.
Mr Prentis also met UNISON representatives from across the region to congratulate them on their campaign to defend national terms and conditions in the NHS.
The campaign was set up in response to 19 trusts setting up the South West Consortium with a view to breaking away from national NHS pay, terms and conditions – Agenda for Change.
Mr Prentis said: “Yesterday, the majority of the staff unions within the NHS agreed changes to the national agreement in England, in order to make savings and protect patient care as well as jobs.
“If, after this, some trusts come back and ask for more, our message is clear – stick to the national agreement – we will fight any trust that tries to breakaway.
“You only have to look at the tragedy of Mid-Staffordshire, where the pursuit of financial savings meant patient care was put at risk.”
And Mr Prentis concluded: “We are urging all trusts to work in partnership, both locally and nationally, to deliver excellence in healthcare, and calling on this government to stop letting its disastrous economic policies place our treasured NHS at risk.”