London hospital workers to tackle Jeremy Hunt’s treatment of NHS

NHS staff at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London, plan to tackle Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt over his poor treatment of the NHS and staff, when he visits the hospital later today.

UNISON members at the internationally renowned hospital are up in arms over plans to use costly PFI arrangements to finance a long over-due rebuild at the hospital.  The union has campaigned hard against the widely discredited PFI system, calling it bad news for taxpayers and for the long-term future of hospitals forced down this route.

NHS workers in London are acutely aware of the problems caused by using PFI. It has led to massive financial problems with the South London NHS Trust and Jeremy Hunt’s demands to close A&E and other services at the Lewisham Hospital.

Gemma Cannon, a neurophysiology technologist and UNISON branch secretary and staff side chair, said:

“Jeremy Hunt is not welcome here.  I want to ask him why he is using costly PFI arrangements to carry out the hospital rebuild. Staff and patients have been waiting years for this work, but using PFI will saddle the Trust with long-term debt burdens that could mean trouble in the future.  And all the evidence shows that PFI is a bad deal for taxpayers who end up paying over the odds.

“Staff at the hospital are truly outraged by the recent announcement from Jeremy Hunt that he is to oppose the miserly 1% pay rise promised to health workers. All this at a time when NHS staff have suffered from a pay cut over many years because of the Government’s freeze and squeeze on their pay. Then, to add insult to injury he is threatening to scrap increments, he obviously has no idea how nurses, theatre staff and NHS workers and their families are feeling the pressure just to pay their bills and put food on the table.

“And patients are suffering too because, in spite of Government claims, NHS budgets are being cut.  We have the demand for £20bn in so called efficiency savings plus another £30bn in the pipeline. Enough is enough”