Stop the Damaging Health Reforms

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2011 Retired Members' Conference
20 June 2011

Conference believes that any reform of the NHS must take into account the needs of older people – the NHS’ largest patient group.

Conference notes that the Health and Social Care Bill will alter fundamentally the NHS as we know it and undermine the basic principles on which it was founded in 1948.

Conference is concerned that the Bill represents a major shift to a system of wholesale competition that the Chief Executive of the regulator Monitor expects to function like the privatised utilities and railways. This is completely inappropriate for a public service that is based on care and compassion, not making money at the expense of competitors.

In June 2011, the government’s “listening exercise” ended with the report of the Future Forum. Although the government accepted many of the recommendations of the Forum, a large number of problems remain, with government action either woefully inadequate or missing altogether. For example, the government shows no sign of backtracking on the crucial issue of abolishing the private patient income cap which means that NHS patients will find themselves pushed to the back of the queue by those that can afford to pay.

Conference believes that the best option for older people continues to be an NHS that is fair – an NHS where your treatment depends on your need, not your ability to pay.

Therefore, Conference calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to take appropriate action to encourage involvement by retired members in UNISON’s “Our NHS, Our Future” campaign to stop the damaging reforms of the NHS.