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£8bn extra for the NHS will ‘just about keep the lights on’, says CSP chief

28 May 2015 - 11:50am

The government’s promise of an extra £8 billion a year for the NHS in England by 2020 is only enough to ‘keep the lights on’, said CSP chief executive Karen Middleton.

£8bn extra for the NHS will ‘just about keep the lights on’, says CSP chief

Karen Middleton: the government must not seek to introduce seven-day services 'on the cheap'. Photo: Simon Hadley

The funding commitment was set out in the Queen’s speech at the state opening of parliament on 27 May, along with a pledge for a ‘truly’ seven-day NHS.

Ms Middleton warned that the government must not seek to set up seven-day services ‘on the cheap’ by stretching five days of resources over seven or cutting unsocial hours pay.

‘It must be resourced appropriately and we will defend members’ terms and conditions to ensure any new services are good for patients, but also fair to those delivering them,’ she said.

The Queen’s speech included a bill to curb industrial action by union members. The trade union bill will introduce a 50 per cent voting threshold for union ballots turnouts. In public services, such as the NHS, there will be an additional requirement that 40 per cent of those entitled to vote must vote in favour of industrial action.

Commenting on the bill, Ms Middleton said: ‘We will also stand against the proposed attack on members’ democratic rights to defend their terms and conditions, a move that will actually worsen industrial relations.’

She called on the government to commit to modernising the balloting process through online voting, as well as respecting the decisions of the independent NHS Pay Review Body, set up as a mechanism to reduce conflict.

Private physiotherapy practices could be affected by an enterprise bill to reduce regulation on small businesses. This, it is claimed, will cut red tape and save businesses about £10 billion over the next five years. In addition, a small business conciliation service would be created to handle disputes, such as ones over late payments, without the need for court action.

A draft bill says that an ombudsman service for health will become part of an overarching public service ombudsman. The aim is to simplify the process for members of the public who have complained about public services and are dissatisfied by the response.

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