UNISON Northern Ireland


UNISON, the largest union representing workers across health and social care in Northern Ireland, notes with serious concern the statement issued by the Chairs of six Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts in relation to the budget available for services. Commenting on the statement by the Chairs, UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘This is an extremely worrying intervention by the Chairs that should provide a stark warning as to the damage that inadequate funding for essential services can do.

Cuts of the kind being referred to by the Chairs are unacceptable. Bed closures, reductions in outpatient care, operating lists, domiciliary care and nursing home care packages will only serve to increase the pressures on our members and will fail to meet the needs of the public.

UNISON will oppose any cuts which adversely impact on the rights of patients and service users and which have a negative effect on our members and the wider workforce.

We will be demanding urgent discussions with the Health Minister and management across each of the Trusts on the implications of the budget before any decisions are taken.

The full assessment of the impacts of any cuts on patients, service users and staff must be shared without delay. In particular, we will require detailed information on the impacts on staff and will defend the interests of our members.

It should not be forgotten that the budgetary problems being experienced within health and social care, and indeed extending across our public services, follow from them having been underfunded compared to the level of need.

Health and social care needs sustained investment over a multi-year period, not cuts. We fail to see how services can be improved without the resources they need.

The Northern Ireland Executive must collectively deal with this serious problem as a first priority with the UK Government. Without doing so, we fear that the damage to health and social care and to wider public services will only grow worse and worse.’’



Notes to editors

1. The statement by the six Trust Chairs is available here: