Responding to the announcement of a further £2bn cut in the NHS budget, Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, said:
“The prospect of a further £2bn cut in the NHS budget is a real blow for patients and staff. This government has wasted precious billions on a massive and unnecessary top down reorganisation of the NHS.
“Nurse:patients ratios are reaching dangerous levels in some areas. Earlier this year, a UNISON survey revealed that 65% of nursing staff did not have enough time to spend with patients and as a result 55% said care was left undone.
“The government can’t expect staff to plug this hole in NHS funding by cutting pay and conditions even further. UNISON members are already angry over the government’s decision to deny 60% of NHS staff a pay increase. And we will ballot our members for strike action.
“Starving NHS budgets further will have a significant and noticeable impact on patient care, staff training and hospital infrastructure. The NHS is already under strain because of rising demand and the high cost of expensive drugs and treatments.
“Waiting lists are growing and will get even longer. Patients won’t receive the life saving treatment they are entitled to and further cuts will undermine our healthcare system.
“It is a sad fact that many health staff, including nurses and paramedics, are already considering leaving a profession they were once passionate about.
“Every year, staff ‘donate’ £1.5bn in unpaid overtime. We all know the NHS runs on the goodwill of its staff, but this is not sustainable when staff are being asked to do more with less.”