National Campaign for a Public NHS

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2010 Health Care Service Group Conference
18 April 2010

2010 is a general election year and politicians from all parties will want to claim they have the NHS’ interests at heart and services will be safe with them. In reality the staff know that services have been trimmed and cut over many years now and bear no resemblance to the holistic care package that was promised during the post war years.

Acute services are so stretched that staff have no time to ensure continuity of care and duplication of diagnostic procedures and quick fixes is both inefficient and distressing for the patients. There are still vast differences in patient experiences throughout the country and to see dirty hospitals and ambulances in 21st century would cause campaigners for our flagship NHS to turn in their graves.

Transforming Community Services is confusing for staff and patients and can only result in reduced provision. Greater regionalisation of specialties and even day to day services such as Maternity and Accident and Emergency is causing inconvenience, serious injury and death.

The 2006 White paper – ‘Our health, our care, our say’, says a pivotal theme of the commissioning framework is to encourage open-tendering as a way of stimulating innovation and choice for patients; and as the concept for open-tendering is a route for the private sector to take control of delivering NHS services, we are daily seeing more privatisation of the NHS.

UNISON should be at the front of defending the NHS; this should not only be with the employers but also with the public. UNISON has a role and duty to keep the public informed about what is happening to the NHS and how services should be developed.

We call upon the Service Group Executive to:

(i)Explore how best to accomplish this aim and also to deliver a programme of events in each region during 2010 incorporating a local campaign to bring national exposure to the doorsteps of our members and the public;

(ii)Organise a robust national campaign in defence of a publicly run, publicly funded and publicly accountable health care service.