Union plan action against Fife’s £30m health cuts

Britain's biggest union Unite has called for action following the announcement of �30m of cut to Fife's health service
Britain's biggest union Unite has called for action following the announcement of �30m of cut to Fife's health service

Care workers furious over £30 million of planned cuts to Fife’s health service are to voice their anger at a planned protest in Kirkcaldy this week.

Members of Unite - Britain’s biggest trade union - are calling on as many people as possible to join them in a demonstration against what they have called a “savage and unsustainable attack” on the region’s health service.

The action, which is to take place outside Victoria Hospital, follows the shock news that NHS Fife must find £30.8m of savings from this year’s budget.

Warnings have already come from NHS bosses that a major rethink on how services are delivered will be required as they search for way to make the required five per cent from an overall £604m budget.

John Gillespie, chairman of Unite’s area activities committee in Fife, said the cuts will have a devastating effect on health care provision for every person in Fife, whatever their age.

“The impact these cuts will have on the health service across the region can not be underestimated, it’s a very worrying situation,” he said.

“These are draconian cuts coming from the Scottish Government that amount to an attack on the peoples heath service and I urge as many as possible to join the protest.”

And Mr Gillespie admits he can see how the cuts won’t impact on jobs, despite NHS Fife’s assurances that jobs will be protected.

“I can’t see how this won’t impact on jobs, be it NHS, those in the not-for-profit sector or independent employers who are closely associated with the NHS,” said Mr Gillespie.

“We have yet to be given any detailed proposals on how these savings are going to to be achieved and have had no dialogue with NHS Fife over the safeguarding of jobs.”

Consideration is now being given to changes in minor injuries services as part of an ongoing national review of the out of hours provision, while a review of current diabetes services, hospital security, catering and laundry provision are also to be scrutinised. And while £19.2m of savings have been earmarked, there are fears that the remaining £11.4m are just not sustainable.

The demonstration will take place outside Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy on May 12 from 7.30 am to 10.30 am and will mark the start of a concerted campaign against the cuts, say Unite Union representatives