Threat to name Fife politicians who fail to slam NHS cuts

Members of Unison are joined by Alex Rowley and Claire Baker at Holyrood to protest against cuts to NHS Fife's budget.
Members of Unison are joined by Alex Rowley and Claire Baker at Holyrood to protest against cuts to NHS Fife's budget.
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Protesters have threatened to “name and shame” any Fife politician who fails to voice their opposition to cuts to NHS Fife’s budget.

John Gillespie, chairman of the Fife activist committee of the Unite union, organised two protests against the £30m deficit in the region’s health service budget for the next financial year - one in the morning at the hospital, with a small delegation heading through to the Scottish Parliament in the afternoon.

Reviews are now expected for the minor injuries and diabetes services as well as hospital security, catering and laundry provision.

Mr Gillespie said he had invited every politician in Fife to give their backing to the small protest in Edinburgh but said he was “disappointed” with the response.

“We were joined by Labour’s Alex Rowley and Claire Baker, as well as Mark Ruskell from the Scottish Green Party,” he said.

“We’re very grateful to Alex, Claire and Mark, but I would like to have seen more of Fife’s MPs and MSPs supporting us. “There was a poor response from SNP members.”

There will be a small delegation protesting outside Fife House today (Thursday) at 8.15am, where the group have submitted a motion against the cuts to Fife Council.

The council’s leader David Ross slammed the cuts - equivalent to a huge five per cent of Fife Council’s annual £604m budget - calling the saving “unacceptable” adding it would have a “huge impact on services”.

“The scale of the savings is absolutely huge,” he said, “And will inevitably have an our ability jointly to deliver the health and social care changes that everybody recognises we need.”

Mr Gillespie said: “This is going to impact on the local authority through the health and social care partnership, the community not-for-profit sector and the Fife economy.

“The people of Fife deserve better.”

The Unison union now intends to lobby every politician in Fife, asking them to oppose the proposed cut.

“We will be asking all the elected members to come out on Thursday and give us their support and thereafter we’ll be lobbying every politician in Fife to do the same. That’s all elected MPs, MSPs and councillors.

“We will name and shame anyone who fails to do so.”