The Government has been warned against further spending cuts to the NHS as this is not the right answer.
Christina McAnea, general secretary of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, has warned on Sunday that the NHS will be left in a “difficult” situation if the right choices are not made.
McAnea warned that the “NHS is ready to collapse” and that it is already “on its knees” and more needs to be done by the government.
McAnea said in an interview on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme, “In the past week I’ve been speaking to members across the country who are paramedics, nurses and theatre staff in hospitals and I can tell you they don’t think there’s any room for efficiency savings.
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“What they want to see is more investment in the NHS.
“They want to see a pay rate that encourages people to join the NHS and crucially to stay in the NHS.”
The Unison chief warned over any further spending restraint on the NHS, as the British people are suffering and there is widespread dissatisfaction over services.
She added, “We’ve got the highest level of public dissatisfaction with the NHS since it started.
“We’ve got 135,000 vacancies in the NHS. People are waiting in ambulances outside hospitals for as long as 10 hours.
“It’s already having an impact on British people and it will only get worse.
“When I hear about politicians talking about difficult choices to be made of course that’s true but difficult things will happen if we don’t make the right choices and they don’t make the right choices.
“The NHS is ready to collapse.”
To matters worse, tens of thousands of nurses are to strike this winter after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union held a ballot.
Last week the RCN said that more than 300,000 nurses have voted to strike over pay levels and their fears over patient safety concerns.
RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said, “Anger has become action – our members are saying enough is enough.
“The voice of nursing in the UK is strong and I will make sure it is heard. Our members will no longer tolerate a financial knife edge at home and a raw deal at work.
“Ministers must look in the mirror and ask how long they will put nursing staff through this.
“While we plan our strike action, next week’s budget is the UK government’s opportunity to signal a new direction with serious investment. Across the country, politicians have the power to stop this now and at any point.
But on Sunday the Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the pay demands are “neither reasonable nor affordable” and then warned that this will “turbocharge inflation” at the same time the Chancellor is trying to keep the economy under control amid the threat of a recession.
Barclay wrote in the Sunday Telegraph, “Yet the RCN is demanding a massive pay rise of 17.6%; an increase that is simply neither reasonable nor affordable.
“It is about three times the average settlement that millions of hard-working people, including many Sunday Telegraph readers, working outside the public sector will typically receive.”