‘Don’t government claims to be protecting NHS make you sick?’

Not one person in the NHS believes £22bn cuts by 2020 are achievable, delegates hear as UNISON health conference gets under way in Brighton

“Doesn’t it make you sick when David Cameron, George Osborne and Jeremy Hunt claim they’re protecting the NHS when all the time we know the truth?” asked Yorkshire and Humberside’s Karen Smales as she opened the debate on the NHS funding crisis at UNISON’s health conference in Brighton this morning.

“Tory cuts are affecting us all,” she told delegates, as she condemned the current “meagre settlement for our NHS” and the plan from “cloud cuckoo land” to cut another £22bn by 2020.

She urged delegates to “ensure our members do not pay the price” for cuts to health funding.

Lynne Davey agreed that all health workers could think of NHS savings, but she said: “There are right ways, and wrong ways of doing this. There is not one single person in the NHS who thinks the £22bn of cuts can be achieved.”

Unfortunately, this has not stopped the government demanding them.

The Carter Review aims to make up £5bn of these, she said. And it contains many “alarming elements,” including a demand that trusts cut their administrative and corporate costs to 7% then 6% of their income.

This is despite the fact that many spend about 12% at the moment and ignores the fact that well-administered trusts are efficient and save money.

Delegates reported on the impact of cuts locally.

In Tayside, said one delegate, they’ve been set a target to cut £1m a week in 2016/17, on top of existing 5% cuts, or about £30m a year.

Roger Davey from Wiltshire and Avon asked “What health worker isn’t aware of the financial crisis hitting the NHS?”

He reported that, although health inflation means the NHS needs to receive a 6% annual increase to stand still, it is currently receiving nothing extra.