Pressure mounts on health bosses as UNISON leads cuts challenge

Cornwall’s health restructure plan, known as “Shaping our future” will this week be put under the microscope by the public service union UNISON, first at the “save our NHS” rally in Truro on Saturday, and again on Monday as representatives begin three days of giving evidence to Cornwall council’s health scrutiny committee.

UNISON’s presentation to the health scrutiny committee will highlight the state of health and care finances and staffing in Cornwall. The 2016/17 deficit alone stands at £50m and is predicted to rise to £264m by 2020/21 on current levels of funding and demand. Turnover rates in the county’s care sector have hit 37% – more than double the average employee churn rate.

Addressing the rally today (Saturday 4 March 2017) and giving evidence to the committee on Monday is UNISON South West organiser Sarah Woodward, who said:

“These plans must be properly funded, given appropriate time to be drawn up and ultimately maintain a publically owned NHS.

“Integrated healthcare systems would be better for staff and service users, but the scale of that ambition needs matching care, attention and resources to make it work. This rally and others like it across the county will state our message clearly: yes, our health system needs to change, but we won’t stand for plans that put people’s care at risk.

“In Cornwall, UNISON are working constructively with employers to help these changes happen. But the speed with which these plans are being developed raises serious concerns about the realism of the whole exercise. Employers are still refusing to share the financial specifics of the plans and we are only able to get at the information in draft form.

“Thousands of health staff are represented by UNISON across Cornwall, and I welcome the chance to put their concerns across to the scrutiny committee. These councillors can help deliver an open and transparent process of change in our health service that will lead to a more effective service for local people.”

Further information

  • The Cornwall NHS rally begins on Lemon Quay at 14:00 on Saturday 4 March, proceding for a short distance through the city centre to a rally with music and speakers at High Cross in front of the Cathedral
  • Cornwall council’s sustainability and transformation plan scrutiny meeting is at 14:00 on Monday 6 March in the Grenville Room, County Hall, Truro, TR1 3AY
  • Cornwall has labelled its Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) “shaping our future”