Reacting to comments made this morning by health secretary Steve Barclay on the ambulance strike, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “People are already dying or getting sicker every day because the government’s let the NHS get into such a dire state.
“Ministers have sat back while ambulance response times worsened and waiting lists reached record highs. Ambulance services and the wider NHS no longer have the staff to provide safe patient care. And all this on the government’s watch.
“There’s a complete absence of a ministerial plan to tackle the worst staffing crisis in the history of the NHS. Steve Barclay’s stubborn refusal to boost pay is more damaging than he realises.
“The public wants ministers to treat NHS staff better and pay them more, as do many politicians on the government’s side. Trying to paint ambulance workers and their unions as the bad guys in this dispute won’t wash.
“People know it’s ministers who are recklessly putting lives at risk by refusing to negotiate. Unless the government commits to a proper wage rise this year, action will likely escalate in the new year.
“The health secretary must stop the insults and groundless accusations and take responsibility for solving this damaging dispute.”
Notes to editors:
– Details of UNISON’s picket lines are available here.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.
The article Ministers putting lives at risk by refusing to negotiate first appeared on the UNISON National site.