Primary Care Campaign

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2006 Health Care Service Group Conference
22 April 2006

The Department of Health’s plans to separate the provider and commissioning functions of Primary Care Trusts poses a massive threat to the future of the National Health Service. The next two years will be crucial in determining how primary care staff are employed and how primary care services are to be delivered. Conference recognises that this is currently a proposal affecting English services only, but is also aware that the move:

·Represents a fundamental threat to the ethos of public service provision;

·Is likely to affect distinct groups within our membership from across all sectors who work in primary care and community settings;

·Could result in worsening the terms and conditions of a very significant proportion of NHS workers;

·Is likely to influence the future direction of policy in other UK countries.

UNISON will need to have the highest possible membership density and levels of activism and participation in order that it can effectively negotiate and influence decisions about how services will be delivered, and respond to the needs of members working in primary care and community settings.

Conference endorses the need for a high profile media and political campaign and calls on the Service Group Executive to:

i.Effectively campaign nationally, regionally and locally against the encroachment of the private sector and the detrimental effect that a multiplicity of independent or private providers would have on delivery of an integrated primary care service.

ii.Provide materials and information to influence the development of local “service improvement” plans, including the continued production of fact sheets such as ‘Practice Based Commissioning and Payment by Results’ to assist in informing members of developments.

iii.Provide recruitment and organising materials specific to primary care and community occupational groups and issues. The Primary Care newsletter should continue to be directed at staff working in primary care to explain what UNISON is doing in response to the changes.

iv. Work with Regions and Branches to protect the employment status of members working in these environments.

v.Encourage branches to prioritise recruiting and organising primary care and community staff within their development plans.

vi.Ensure that appropriate practical support and relevant training courses are provided to equip stewards and branches to participate in and influence local decisions on the issue of service provision.

vii.Establish a broad coalition of unions and other major organisations to work in partnership on local, regional and national campaigning activity to resist this damaging move toward the privatisation of primary care services.