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Trade unions condemn May's 10-year NHS plan for failing to consider the ‘staffing black hole’

TRADE unions condemned Theresa May today for failing to take seriously the “staffing black hole” in the NHS.

Unions GMB and Unite have criticised the Prime Minister’s “10-year plan” for the NHS for failing to take stock of the current health service employment crisis.

At the plan’s launch at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital today Ms May promised an extra £20 billion of NHS funding by 2023-24.

Much of this looks set to go to GP surgeries, community care and mental health services, to focus on the prevention and early detection of health problems.

However, the plans have worried the two unions, largely due to the fact that the chronic shortage of staff was not addressed. 

One in 11 NHS posts currently stand vacant and doubt hangs over the futures of over 63,000 EU nationals working in the NHS.

GMB national health officer Rachel Harrison asked: “Why on Earth is there no mention of staffing issues in today’s long-awaited plan?

“The Conservatives are once again failing to understand what makes the NHS tick.”

Unite added that the Tory mismanagement of the NHS over the past decade has created huge structural problems that can’t be solved by small spending increases.

The union also warned the public over incoming NHS Trust reviews, such as the review of blood services in Kent, which could signal new privatisation in the health services.

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “How can this long-term plan be implemented if the government gives with the one hand and takes away with the other?”

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth condemned the government for overseeing a 100,000-person staff shortage.

He said: “While the aspirations for improving patient care NHS England has outlined today are welcome, the reality is the NHS will continue to be held back by cuts and chronic staff shortages.

“Labour will give the NHS the funding it needs to provide quality care and recruit the staff for the future.”

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