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Beyond belief

I think that the actions of this health minister, Jeremy Hunt are disgusting. He is using every underhand method he can think of to ruin our NHS. Is he jealous of the fact that the Conservative government didn’t originally think of the idea of a national health service for everyone in the UK?

This new idea that they have come up with of moving the most basic and important department in any hospital away to an area that is more difficult for people to access is beyond belief.

My local hospital St Helier, (in Sutton,) was promised £219m by the last government to rebuild an out of date hospital that should have been done 25 years ago. But with this new initiative of moving A&E departments away, it will mean that this would downgrade the hospital and the promised funding, lost.

It would also mean that for the local residents to gain access to an A&E department they will have to travel to St George’s hospital at Tooting – a journey to reach help of an extra 25 minutes, instead of an average time of five to seven minutes. It would also mean that people that want to visit their relatives would have to undertake a bus journey of around an hour each way. As you can imagine for many elderly people this is a daunting prospect.

The waiting times at St Helier in the A&E department can be as much as four hours. As the volume of patients can be high at times. The waiting times at St George’s are the same, four hours. You can imagine the huge waiting times and confusion that this is going to cause , the overcrowding at St George’s could not be dealt with.

This is just a cost saving exercise by this government and they are totally out of touch with what is needed by the people of the UK.

Views expressed in letters and Soapbox are those of the individual and not necessarily endorsed by Unite.

OVER TO YOU:Why not send us your views for Your letters or Soapbox?Write to us at uniteWORKS, Unite, 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN or email

SOAPBOX Your letters Pension trap?

I've worked as an electrician in various industries since 1968, always earning around the national average until now. Electrical and mechanical personnel in the NHS have suffered a huge drop in pay through a legal technicality which we will have to ‘take on the chin’. My point being it’s not the money, but the reaction of our management.

They say, “You can't leave, you're caught in the pension trap like us all,” to quote one. No attempt at concern for our wellbeing or morale, but just tell it like it is! Unfortunately, as the average age in the electrical department is fifty-something, his view might (by some) be considered valid.

But, of course, as morale falls, as the average age increases , as wages fall year on year, this same manager may wish he wasn’t so unconcerned about our fate? Good luck to everyone in the same boat!!

Chris Hale, by email More tax staff plea

The union has had plenty of research undertaken with regard to the tax system which has highlighted the enormous tax gap. Instead of harping on about saving a penny on a pint of beer why won’t the union, and the Labour Party that it supports, call for HMRC to increase its staff and collect the approximately £120bn outstanding.

There would be no need for austerity if the debt were collected. Any businessman will tell you that control of debtors is the most fundamental part of the business. If you are not being paid for what you do – you may as well not do it in the first place.

John McGann, by email Listening ear

With the contributions on carers in recent editions of uniteWORKS, please tell readers that most areas of the UK have carers’ centres. Staff can advise on what support and benefits carers and the people they care for can get; they can also offer a much-needed ‘listening ear’ to carers under stress.

Many carers’ centres are members of Carers Trust and you can search for your local centre at

Jill Foalks, Bradford Neil wants it sorted

Last year when I went to St. Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey with a broken ankle they sent me home for a week with treatment for a sprain. Unfortunately when I went back for my appointment I found it was a dislocated fracture and had become an emergency. I was at risk of losing my leg and needed two operations over six days in hospital.

I was determined that this shouldn’t happen again or to anyone else, while at the same time being a trades unionist I certainly didn’t want a witch-hunt against the hard working staff.

I launched my campaign to improve the hospital and to challenge the cuts and privatisations that threaten our NHS. I would welcome any support and solidarity my fellow Unite members can give; whether patients or staff in the NHS. Check out my blog;

Neil Harris, Chertsey, Surrey 34 uniteWORKS May/June 2013

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