Don't let them eat cake!

4th July 2013

The Senedd today hosts a double birthday celebration - UNISON is 20 years old and the NHS is celebrating its 65th birthday. Along with a birthday cake, there are guests of honour, including the Welsh Health Minister, Mark Drakeford, and UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis.

As a UNISON member fighting NHS cuts being implemented by the Welsh Government and NHS Cymru, I think this is totally inappropriate. So deep are the cuts being made to the NHS in Wales that by 2015, spending per head on the NHS will be the lowest of any country in the UK.

Yesterday the local paper published concerns that ABMU Health Board is £5 million in the red, despite having identified £28 million worth of cuts towards their target for the year. They have to save the equivalent of over a million pounds a week, such is the effect on their budget of Welsh Government cuts.

Today came news that the Information Commissioner has ruled that the Welsh Government must publish documents relating to contact between Prof. Marcus Longley and the Welsh Government during the drawing up of his 'independent' review of health services. Longley's report contributed to the blueprint for the cuts being implemented in the NHS in Wales and it has been long alleged that Longley and Welsh Government officials colluded to 'sex up' his findings to achieve the result the Welsh Government wanted. The previous Health Minister only survived a vote of no confidence by the narrowest of margins over this issue.

Such are the ties between the leadership of my union and Welsh Labour that they try to cover up the cuts they are making. The NHS should be celebrated but it should be celebrated with those campaigning to stop the cuts. Instead of sharing cake with Welsh Government Ministers, UNISON's leadership should be marching, lobbying, even striking with campaigners from Bangor to Bridgend, Cardigan to Cwmbran to end these cuts and deliver a NHS that can meet the needs of all the people of Wales.

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