Date: Weds 28 June 2006
PFI finances skew clinical decisions in Lanarkshire - UNISON
UNISON, the main health service union in Lanarkshire
today argued that the existence of PFI-funded acute hospitals in
Lanarkshire had made the down-grading of Monklands Hospital's service
inevitable when NHS Lanarkshire met yesterday to decide future health
service provision in Lanarkshire. The union also called for further
consultation on information provided to the Board the day before
the decision was due.
UNISON Lanarkshire Health Branch Chairperson Lilian
Macer said: "Lanarkshire is on the verge of becoming the PFI capital
of Scotland. The people of Lanarkshire are being asked to take out
hugely expensive mortgages to build basic NHS infrastructure for
the future. And because payments to PFI contractors are guaranteed,
a choice between Hairmyres, Wishaw and Monklands was always going
to target Monklands unfairly. The private sector will continue to
profit from the provision of public services to which the taxpayers
of Lanarkshire have a basic right. The privatisation agenda ill
serves the NHS or the people who rely on its essential services."
UNISON called for further information tabled to
the Board yesterday to be released to the public, with a further
period of public, staff, and political consultation before key decisions
are referred to the Scottish Executive for final determination over
the summer. The papers were produced to review the impact of NHSLanarkshire's
Picture of Health on deprivation, cost, access, and staffing implications.
The union said that this was an example of the kind of democratic
accountability that needed to be introduced into the Health Service.
Mary Samson, Branch Secretary said: "If the Board
are convinced of their plans they should not fear another round
of public consultation to convince the people of Lanarkshire. The
people of Lanarkshire need to be able to have their say on services
which belong to them, and know their families can rely on them for
generations to come."
UNISON said it still had major concerns at the
lack of consultant-led critical/intensive care at the Monklands
site, and transport plans for staff, patients and visitors. However
the union welcomed assurances given to staff on job security and
retraining, whilst noting that there was no detailed budget earmarked
for any staff training and development plan.
The union further called for future capital projects
to be financed from public funds. John Gallacher, UNISON's Regional
Organiser said "There is £100 million capital investment for primary
care premises; £172 million at Hairmyres, and additional capital
investment at Wishaw and Monklands. NHSL is already facing stringent
financial efficiency measures because of the two expensive PFI contracts
at Wishaw and Hairmyres. We need future capital investments to be
funded through public as opposed to private capital, and jobs and
services in the NHS family should be kept in the NHS and not privatised."
For Further Information Please Contact:
Lilian Macer (Branch Chair) 07986 255 956 (m) Mary Sampson (Branch
Secretary) 01698 276291(o) John Gallacher (Regional Organiser) 07904
342 426 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)