SOUTH Tyneside health workers used Valentine’s Day to show their love for the NHS – and their fears for its future.
Members of Unison gathered outside South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields, yesterday
Workers held placards displaying ‘We Love Our NHS’ in a demonstration over recent and impending job losses and service closures.
Roger Nettleship, joint secretary of the South Tyneside Health Branch of Unison, said: “We have taken the occasion of Valentine’s Day to show our appreciation for the NHS at this time.
“This is very important because the coalition government is responsible for massive health budgets cuts, while it continues to fragment services and open them up for privatisation.”
In December, the children’s ward at the hospital, in Harton Lane, was closed - with youngsters needing more than 24 hours care being transferred to Sunderland Royal Hospital and the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.
And days before Christmas it was revealed that between 80 and 100 clinical admin and clerical posts would be scrapped by summer to make £10m worth of savings as part of the Government’s Cost Improvement Programme.
And last month it was announced the borough’s Home Care Support Service, which provides assistance for the terminally ill who want to die at home, is set to be axed in March – affecting 26 jobs.
Mr Nettleship added: “We are presently about to lose up to a hundred clinical admin and clerical jobs many of which will affect services to clinicians. Staff are working beyond the call of duty with bed shortages this year which are directly attributable to the underfunding, and to add insult to injury the Government only wants to talk about the failings of the NHS without revealing its own responsibility for these failings.”