Hunt admits bill for disastrous Health and Social Care Act has risen by £300 million
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted today that wrecking the NHS is going to cost £300 million more than planned - just eight months after Chancellor George Osborne claimed the government had "run out of money."
The coalition's package of spending cuts and sell-offs, the Health and Social Care Act, is now set to cost up to £1.6 billion.
Now unions are saying: "We told you so."
Mr Hunt announced the cost rise in a letter to Parliament.
Unions fought strenuously against the Act, which has been recently been referred to as the "mother of all top-down reorganisations."
The Royal College of General Practitioners chairwoman Dr Clare Gerada has already said the Act has put the NHS "in distress."
She told the college's annual conference in Glasgow this month that even though the Act only applies to England it is putting all of Britain's health services under pressure.
Unison health chief Christina McAnea called it "an absolute disgrace."
She said: "Taxpayers have every right to be furious that the government is wasting more money on these disastrous, unnecessary changes to our NHS than treating patients and employing more nurses.
"It is an obscene amount of money to spend on a reorganisation and the government should not be spending this money when the NHS is cutting back on patient care, on staff and on their pay and conditions."
Her Unite counterpart Rachael Maskell said: "We have repeatedly warned that the privatisation of the NHS would be a costly fiasco.
"Now the chickens have come home to roost to expose the folly of the government's so-called reforms.
"The money spent on the reorganisation of the NHS for the benefit of private health care companies, whose priority is profits for shareholders at the expense of patient care, would have been better spent on front-line services.
"Every day we are seeing the cost of NHS privatisation, with nurses losing their jobs and waiting lists increasing.
"Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt needs to act now to reverse this destruction of the NHS."
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