UNITE – Privatisation Claims

THE Government and the Gibraltar Health Authority have dismissed claims by Unite the Union that they intend to privatise health services on the Rock.

Angered Minister for Health Neil Costa said in a statement that he regrets the ‘unfounded and misleading claim’ and that the union ‘cannot be left unchallenged’.

“I was very, very disappointed by the insensitive remark made by my friends in Unite the Union this week,” he said, “citing ‘a less efficient service’ when referring to our health service.”

It comes after Unite staged a 400-strong demonstration calling for an end to ‘backdoor privatisation’ in April.

Costa added: “The GHA has seen an increase of over 25% in the number of directly employed staff since December 2011, an increase of 223.5.

“Agency workers are deployed to bridge the gap until a post has been substantively filled, following the recruitment process.”

He added that agency workers are ‘essential in the delivery of services’ and that they ‘provide cover when necessary to ensure safe clinical levels of care are maintained.’

He went on to say Unite’s claims of ‘plummeting efficiencies’ threaten to ‘undermine the valuable work and achievements by the GHA and its dedicated professionals.’

Achievements listed in the statement include a 40% decrease in the number of complaints and a record number of beds available at St. Bernards Hospital (81).

There has also been no operation cancellations since January 2017.