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29th May, 2022

Unions unite against health cuts

Lorna Morris 6th Jul, 2016 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

TRADE unionists will present a 1,000-strong petition to the South Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group at its meeting at The Hive at 1pm tomorrow (Thursday).

Campaigners say the document was launched in opposition to £25 million worth of cuts proposed in local health budgets put forward after a public survey in May.

Residents were asked to complete the Worcestershire County Council survey to help commissioners decide on healthcare priorities and to voice which areas they felt should be subject to potential changes.

Campaigners say the changes could see restrictions on NHS prescribed physiotherapy and chiropody as well limitations on cataract operation, hip and knee replacements.

Pete McNally, leader of Worcester Trades Union Council, said: “There is nothing in the survey giving the public the chance to reject these cuts.

“We say the commissioners should join with us in pressing the county’s MPs to get the Department of Health to fully fund health services.”

He added he felt the changes could force people into getting private health insurance even though they had already paid for healthcare through National Insurance.

The petition was launched on a Day of Action at The Guildhall on May 21 and signatures have been collected from a host of areas, including Worcester, Evesham and Pershore.

Mr McNally said many residents were unaware of the threat to local health services.

“Sadly this particular exercise is just one in a whole series of cuts which threatens the health service.

“We pay much less than our European neighbours for health and simply cannot afford for the NHS to get further and further behind.”

A spokesperson for the three Worcestershire CCGs said: “Every year we are tasked with making efficiency savings through doing things differently or more efficiently, such as caring for more patients in the community rather than in acute settings, or reducing medicine waste.

“However every year it is becoming increasingly difficult to make these savings which is why we have started to ask patients their thoughts about whether we should consider restricting access to various treatments or prescriptions in the future.”

He added no decision or even formal proposals were being made at this stage, saying the questionnaire marked the start of a ‘very broad engagement’ to see what people thought.

“The results of this survey – which we expect later this month – will form future plans we make as healthcare commissioners.”

He added if any of the ideas were to be considered in more detail in the future, a more formal public consultation outlining clear proposals and the reasons for them would take place.

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