Influencing the Procurement and Efficiency Agenda

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2009 Health Care Service Group Conference
17 April 2009

Over the next five years local commissioners (Primary Care Trusts), will be reviewing most current contracts within the NHS and looking closely at value for money, while the remainder of local NHS providers will be moving forward to NHS Foundation Trust status. Conference re-affirms its opposition to all forms of market-testing, contestability and privatisation in the provision of NHS services; and to the rigid separation of NHS commissioners and providers which is taking place in primary care.

The debate for change and the scale of the problem we face in Health 2009/13.

We face a period of major change and huge challenges over the coming years as the NHS responds to the Government’s modernisation agenda. There is also the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 funding and efficiency regime, and ever increasing patient expectations.

UNISON can make a valuable contribution in responding to these challenges. Our commitment and active participation will contribute to the culture change necessary and assist in improving the morale of our members by working in partnership to keep our NHS services in-house.

All NHS Trust and PCT providers have to save 3% of annual budgets year on year, with average targets meaning savings of over £8 – £10 million per annum, and having huge implications for our members working in the NHS. We must intervene at a much earlier stage and seek to agree protocols with NHS employees.

Many private sector companies including Lydian, Affinity Healthcare, Priory Four Seasons and Castleback between them have nearly £3b business from the NHS, and our key players in local commissioners, plan to move more NHS services to the Private/Voluntary sector. Meanwhile there is an increasing threat from strategic shared services partnerships, across the NHS and other public services, promoted by private companies such as Capita.

UNISON must become more actively involved as a key player in in-house service reviews around Procurement and Efficiency. All health branches must have a clear strategy to work in partnership with NHS employers to avoid compulsory redundancies. They need an in-house service improvement plan proceeding and informing the procurement process with a clear commitment from NHS employers to work together for an in-house bid.

We call upon Health Conference to support further dedicated training and support and to;

1.Roll out the five day procurement/commissioning course across our regions for branch activists who will lead on this agenda;

2.Roll out UNISON’s two-day procurement training for all branches that request it;

3.Encourage branches participation in the local Strategic Health Authority Partnership Forums;

4.Encourage branches involvement and intervention in Local Strategic Partnerships, Links, Scrutiny and Oversight Committees;

5.Offer further training and support around the NHS Efficiency agenda;

6.Make it clear to Labour Government that if quality patient care is to be achieved there needs to be an end to privatisation and marketisation;

7.Request the SGE to develop practical steps (including considering the use of advertisements) to campaign against privatisation, marketisation and fragmentation of health services by taking the message out to members, community groups and the public and winning their support.