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2013 National Retired Members Conference
12 June 2013

Conference is aware that health and social care are areas of major concern to retired members and that the changes to the NHS arising from the Health and Social Care Act 2012 will impact on the services provided to older people.

Conference notes that UNISON fought a hard battle against the government’s Health and Social Care Bill because the moves towards wholesale marketisation are completely inappropriate for our NHS – a system that has always thrived on co-operation and solidarity.

Conference also notes that although UNISON disagrees with the new structures, it is important that we work within the structures to exert an influence over the future direction of our health services.

These structures provide an opportunity for patients and members of the public to get involved in various decision-making bodies including for example:

1)HealthWatch which replaces LINks as the patient representative body locally;

2)Foundation Trusts

Conference believes that UNISON Retired Members are ideally placed to take up these roles because many of them have:

a)The time not available to working colleagues to get involved;

b)Acquired experience and knowledge of the functions of the NHS, either through their employment in the Healthcare sector or as patients.

Conference therefore calls on the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the Health Care Service Group Executive and appropriate organisations such as the National Pensioners’ Convention to involve UNISON retired members and the wider pensioners’ movement in influencing the new NHS using tools such as the UNISON guide “Stronger Together”.