Unison leader warns of five years of ‘broken promises’ on the NHS

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis gives speech to members on what he believes another Tory-led government would mean for NHS services

Another five years of a Conservative-led government could wreak ‘yet more’ havoc on the NHS, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis claims.

Speaking on the first day of Unison’s annual health conference in Liverpool, Mr Prentis said the past five years of government led by prime minister David Cameron have seen broken promises about the NHS. He warned members of what he believed another five years under the Conservatives would mean for health services.

Mr Prentis said that in 2010 Mr Cameron had pledged not to cut NHS front line services and that he had declared the NHS his top priority.

'The Tories promised to increase spending on health in real terms every year, he said. ‘Despite every attempt to conceal the real story and to wriggle their way out of it, ministers have been found out. They’ve been rebuked by statisticians and held to account by think tanks.

‘And now David Cameron is promising to come up with an extra £8 billion by the end of the decade to meet the NHS’s funding shortfall. But of course there’s no suggestion as to where the money might come from. Which other services are be slashed to give the NHS its cash? Having put the NHS in a financial straitjacket these last few years, who would believe this latest promise from the Tories?’

He added: ‘Meanwhile the NHS is creaking at the seams, held together by the valiant efforts of health workers, who feel increasingly taken for granted by a government that doesn’t seem to care.’

Mr Prentis went on to remind members of the pay freezes NHS staff have seen over the past few years and the strike action health workers took in England last year over pay.

‘Think what five more years of the Conservatives, their broken promises and their harsh spending cuts will mean for the NHS, for patients, for local services, for the disadvantaged, for ordinary families everywhere,’ he said.

He finished his opening conference speech by saying: ‘Let’s not let them have another five years to wreak yet more havoc.’

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