UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

NHS Direct at breaking point on busiest day

NHS Direct faced its busiest day of the year yesterday, with UNISON warning the service was close to breaking point after £20 million worth of budget cuts, reports the Morning Star http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/index.php/news/content/view/full/99248

UNISON head of health Karen Jennings said: "With GP surgeries closed over the Christmas holidays, worried parents and families turn to the helpline for much-needed advice about sick children or relatives.

"However, NHS Direct is a service under severe strain because of a £20m cut to its budget this year.

"This puts pressure on the remaining staff who, nevertheless, have struggled through the snow to get into work and are working extra hours over the holiday to cover the expected peaks.

"It is time that the government put NHS Direct on a more secure financial footing and gave it the money that it needs to do the job it is being asked to do."

The paper reports an NHS spokesperson as saying budget cuts were not directed at "front-line staff" but as UNISON's Clare Williams wrote in UNISONActive on Monday, "we must not forget that healthcare is delivered by the whole health team, whether that be nursing staff, porters, domestics, or admin".

"The NHS is not safe in their hands, and UNISON (as the largest health workers union) must be at the forefront of the united campaigning alliances bringing together NHS staff and patients to highlight the real intentions of this Government which is to bring private business into providing healthcare. There will be only one outcome if is this is allowed to happen and that will be an NHS being delivered with fewer staff, and reduced outcomes for patients". http://unisonactive.blogspot.com/2010/12/nhs-is-not-safe-in-tory-hands.html