Seven-day NHS won’t come cheap

UNISON supports a seven-day NHS but warns government is trying to do this on the cheap

30 November 2015
Embargo: 00.01hrs Tuesday 1 December 2015

A seven-day NHS can’t be created on the cheap, says UNISON

The junior doctors’ dispute is proof that Jeremy Hunt is trying to introduce a seven-day NHS on the cheap, and his plans are both unworkable and unsafe, says UNISON today (Tuesday) as medics prepare to take part in their first national strike.

Health workers across the NHS are in total support of the junior doctors’ refusal to accept changes to their unsocial hours payments that the health secretary has been attempting to impose, says UNISON.

Across England NHS staff will be using their breaks and lunchtimes today to join their junior doctor colleagues on BMA picket lines, says UNISON. Many suspect that this dispute over government plans to cut payments for night and weekend work is likely to be a dress rehearsal for what could happen when ministers turn their attention to the wider NHS workforce.

UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis said: “We all want a seven-day NHS, but the government is trying to achieve this at the expense of dedicated health workers. Our health service needs a sustained injection of cash, yet Jeremy Hunt seems to think he can offer more to patients by slashing pay and cutting jobs.

“The government’s harsh pay policies have meant that many NHS staff have come to rely upon the extra cash they get for being at work when most of us are not. Without this, many say they will have no option but to leave the NHS, or take up agency work in search of higher pay.

“NHS workers are already facing a hike in their National Insurance contributions from next April. This hit will wipe out overnight virtually any increase they may get and will also rob the NHS of more than £1 billion a year.

“The government should not be trying to improve the reach of the NHS off the backs of hard-working staff. But that’s exactly what ministers are doing and explains why the junior doctors are out today. NHS staff are with them all the way.”

UNISON media contacts:
Liz Chinchen T: 0207 121 5463 M: 07778 158175 E: