UNION members will launch a campaign in Yorkshire against the sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) which threaten to ravage the NHS.
STPs — dubbed by campaigners “slash, trash and privatise” — are NHS England’s five-year plans covering all aspects of NHS spending in local areas.
Drawn up by health bosses in secret, the plans, typically involving cuts, closures, and privatisation, are going through a process of assessment, engagement and further development. One STP in Yorkshire proposes closure of Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and its A&E department.
The annual conference of Yorkshire & Humber TUC voted at the weekend to campaign against imposition of the STPs.
Karen Reay, secretary of Yorkshire & Northern region of Unite, told the conference: “Yet again we find ourselves having to fight for our NHS.
“STPs will change the NHS beyond recognition: A&E units downgraded, services, clinics and hospitals closed. The NHS at point of need is under threat.
“Forty-five local health services will be ripe for privatisation to the detriment of the most vulnerable in our society. There is no political mandate to have a process which will provide less care, poorer services.
“The Tories again and again have tried to destroy the NHS. We have to fight for it.”
Martin Meyer of West Yorkshire County Association of Trade Union Councils said: “Twenty-two billion pounds in cuts are being imposed on the NHS by this government.
“They are also fragmenting and privatising our NHS, which is turning out a more expensive way to run the NHS.
“Look at the private railway system: it costs almost twice as much to finance a privatised railway as it did a public service.”