Right-wing Brexit minister, Priti Patel, is ‘playing fast and loose with the truth’ by claiming that by leaving the EU there would be a cash boost to the NHS, Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, warned today (Tuesday 14 June).
Gail Cartmail told a joint gathering of Labour’s shadow cabinet and health trade union leaders at the TUC’s Congress House in London that the NHS could expect ‘no mercy’ from Tory Brexit ministers who were already instrumental in privatising the health service.
Gail Cartmail said the Brexit promises to use the savings in contributions to the EU to provide £5.5 billion a year to the NHS was ‘pie in the sky’ if you looked at the record of the Tories since they came to power in 2010.
Gail Cartmail said: “In 2005, Michael Gove, with then Tory now Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, was a co-author of Direct Democracy: An Agenda For A New Model Party, which was a blueprint for replacing the NHS with an insurance market system – and called for the private sector to be brought in.
“Since 2010, Ms Patel’s government has starved the NHS of funds and created chaos with a needless reorganisation that has cost it billions that ought to have gone to patient care. She is part of a government that has alienated doctors and will place trainee nurses in financial ruin by axing bursaries. How dare she ask for our members and our communities’ votes?
“Leopards don’t change their spots, so it is playing fast-and-loose with the truth to say that Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Priti Patel have suddenly fallen in love with the NHS and that a bucketful of cash will be heading the NHS’s way if the UK leaves the EU.
“A Tory party, led by Johnson or Gove, will press ahead with further privatisation of the health service; salaries and wages will be further depressed; there will be a more confrontation with the health unions as witnessed by the recent junior doctors’ dispute; and funding will not keep pace with the increasing demands on the NHS.
“Brexit ministers are using the falsehood that the NHS will be better off with a ‘leave’ vote for their narrow political ends. The health service can expect no mercy with a ‘leave’ vote.
“In the event of a ‘leave’ vote, there will be massive economic uncertainty; a run on the pound; foreign investment in the UK because of our easy access to the EU single market will be hit; and tens of thousands of jobs will be in peril.
“There will be no mountain of cash for the NHS as all available Treasury monies will be pressed into service to keep the economic wheels on Britain plc.
“Priti Patel is being disingenuous in the extreme with her spurious claims. It is pie in the sky and a deceit on the British people.”
Unite represents more than 100,000 members in the health service.