A union leader is to warn political parties against making cuts in the NHS and pledge to build alliances to fight attacks on the service.

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, will tell the union’s health workers’ conference in Brighton that the NHS is not a “soft touch” for cuts.

He will tell hundreds of health workers, including nurses, paramedics, therapists, hospital porters, cleaners and midwives, that public service workers would stand “shoulder to shoulder” to protect jobs and services.

He will praise the government’s manifesto commitment to ensure public sector pensions are secure and sustainable in the long term.

Speaking about the damage inflicted by the recession he will say: “Whoever is returned to power they have to learn that cuts to public service budgets won’t help our recovery - they will hold it back. They’ve got to learn that just as unbridled market forces wrecked our financial system, they’ll wreak havoc in our public services too.

“Unison will not stand idly by and let our members in the NHS pay for the financial crisis with their jobs, with cuts to their pay, or to the vital care they deliver to our communities. Whether they are fighting to keep their A&E open or demanding action over cuts - we will be right there with them.”

Mr Prentis will warn that the NHS is “simply not safe” in the hands of the Conservatives, adding: “Cameron’s plans to cut hard and fast, his give-away taxes to the super-rich, mean that it is impossible to protect the NHS from devastating cuts.”