UNISON Northern Ireland


Today (11 October 2017) the Department of Health has announced that £40 million has been found for the health and social care budget, following on from a proposed £70 million in cuts across the five Health and Social Care Trusts.  Responding to this announcement, UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘It comes as no surprise that the Department of Health has had to give way in the face of People Power.  The public was always going to reject outrageous proposals to strip older people of their right to care and inflict further hardship on patients on waiting lists.

UNISON pays tribute to our members across Northern Ireland, particularly our health and social care staff, who have been engaged in an intensive campaign to challenge the proposed £70m of cuts.  They have encouraged tens of thousands of members of the public to sign petitions and submit responses to the ‘sham’ consultation.

Special Trust Board meetings are scheduled for Friday.  If they go ahead, UNISON still intends to exercise our speaking rights at all of them.  Last month we challenged all Board members to do the right thing, listen to the People and stand up with us to demand real investment in our health system.  We will do so again.

The £70m cuts should never have been proposed.  The money was always there.  It exists in the Block grant and in the additional £1bn brokered by the DUP.

We will not accept any more ‘sticking plaster’ solutions or any further crisis management.  Either the leadership of the health system is on the side of the People and the health care workforce or it is merely looking out for itself.

We urgently need investment in the transformation of our health and social care system based on the founding principles of the NHS and increased investment.  We need investment in the pay and conditions of health service workers and we need the staffing gaps filled by permanent staff with permanent jobs.  We reject the privatisation of our health system by stealth.

This campaign has been remarkable for demonstrating that all political parties can be on the same side when it suits.  They need to take this a step further and power share in a genuine equality and human rights framework that protects the vulnerable and the sick.  The time has come for collective action to protect our health service.  If politicians and NHS leaders will not do so, UNISON members will.’’