UNISON launches NHS funding crisis campaign with central Plymouth event

Healthcare staff will this Tuesday (28 February 2017) be out campaigning in central Plymouth with their union, UNISON, over the dire state of health and social care funding in Devon.

The event is one of a series organised to raise awareness of the increasingly difficult nature of work in health and social care services as funding fails to keep pace with demand. Healthcare staff will be demonstrating equipment, including an ambulance car, in an effort to engage the public.

A £572 million gap between money available and money needed for healthcare is predicted in Devon by 2020/21. The county’s plan to deal with this, called a “sustainability and transformation plan” threatens hospital closures and cuts to community health services.

Staffing pressures are also mounting, with a 25% drop in UK-born nursing student applications after the government abolished the support bursary, as well as a 90% drop in the number of EU nurses registering to practice in the UK after the Brexit vote.

UNISON organiser Kerry Baigent said:

“People can see the pressure on the NHS as they wait longer to get an operation, see a GP, or even get help in A&E. It’ll be clear to anyone speaking to healthcare staff that the problems have nothing to do with a lack of dedication on their part, but everything to do with a government that’s failing to provide proper resources for this vital public service.

“As older relatives and loved ones struggle to get support in the failing social care system, people are going to start asking questions about why the government has let the situation reach this stage. Plans to join up services are all well and good, but without the resources to make it happen the plans just can’t work.

“The message from our campaign is clear: yes, NHS services can be made better. But that process has to engage properly with staff and communities and receive enough funding in order to genuinely improve. I hope members of the public will take the time to talk with us and then ask their MPs what they are doing to address these concerns.”


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