NHS Care for the Elderly

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2011 Retired Members' Conference
21 May 2011
Carried as Amended

Mr Cameron pledged, “We can’t go on like this. I’ll cut the deficit, not the NHS”. The election manifesto stated, “We are the party of the NHS, we back its funding and have visions for its future.” In January 2011 he said “We recognise its special place in our society, so we will not cut the NHS.”

Devastating cuts followed, resulting in huge job losses in the NHS. His so called reform of the health service was the actual start of the dismantlement of the NHS. Nye Bevan must be turning in his grave. The growing older population, the disabled and the poverty stricken are devastated and shocked with fear of their future medical care in their old age.

For example, Conference notes that the coalition government clearly has not the slightest intention of improving the lot of pensioners by making available dentures, bridges, glasses and other optical devices free at the point of need.

Conference believes that the cost of these aids (over £200 in the case of NHS dentures, and in many cases more for spectacles) can be prohibitive for those receiving only the state pension or a very low occupational pension. At present in England only those pensioners receiving pension credit guarantee qualify for help, and even then the full cost is not always met. Whilst the situations in Scotland and Wales are slightly different, improvements there too are needed.

This Conference urges the UNISON Retired Members’ Committee and National Executive Council to pursue through all appropriate channels the aim of getting all dental care and appliances, and all optical care and appliances available to all pensioners free at the point of need, throughout the UK, to take steps to re-establish a National Health and care service for the elderly and to stop the destruction of the NHS.