Defending public health services

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2013 Health Care Service Group Conference
14 December 2012

UNISON members in Northern Ireland are on the frontline of defence of the National Health Service. The Tory-led coalition’s strategy in Great Britain to weaken the provision of good health care by extracting billions of pounds in cuts has set the template for the Northern Ireland Assembly’s response to the cut in the block grant and its impact on health spending in the region.

Northern Ireland has its own version of the Lansley Act and it is called Transforming Your Care. This is disguised as a strategy for transformational change and a shift from acute and primary social care. However, it is in reality an accountancy tool designed to mirror Lansley, open the way for private medicine which has hitherto had no base in the Northern Ireland Health Service and shift public responsibility for residential and social care to the private sector.

UNISON Northern Ireland has already exposed the complicity of the Department of Health and NHS decision-making bodies in the drive to privatise.

Conference calls on the Health SGE to:

1)put defence of the NHS publicly funded and publicly delivered at the forefront of all our strategic decisions;

2)continue to defend and maintain Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions on a whole service basis;

3)commit to underpinning our negotiating strategies at the bargaining tables with a clear and advance campaigning focus in the workplace on the goals we have set in these negotiations;

4)devolution-proof all our strategies, which will be essential to maintaining a cohesion in our combined and separate efforts to defend Agenda for Change.