Campaigning against provatisation in the NHS

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2014 Health Care Service Group Conference
1 January 2014

UNISON branches and members have been at the forefront of campaigns over the last two decades and more to keep our National Health Service public. When necessary and allowed, UNISON branches and members have taken industrial action to maintain and promote the National Health Service.

Conference condemns the shameful decision of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust to privatise their entire Estates and Facilities department.

The trust invited tenders from six private contractors plus a bid from the ‘in-house’ team. The trust eliminated the ‘in-house’ bid at the earliest stage and shortlisted three private contractors. A £200 million five year contract will now be awarded to the lowest bidder.

Conference condemns this appalling waste of taxpayers’ money and further, condemns the creeping privatisation of services throughout the NHS.

In October 2010, the Conservative/Liberal Democratic Government Coalition announced 450,000 public sector job losses by 2014/15 as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. While the Coalition maintains NHS spending will be ring-fenced in the next couple of years, many NHS Trusts have already shredded staff, whether they are classed as front line or support services.

Dave Prentis at the TUC Rally said “The Coalition is taking a chainsaw to our public services and we are under attack, not because of a deficit, but because of an ideology”.

On Sunday 29th September 2013, over 55,000 people marched against the public sector austerity cuts in Manchester outside the Conservative Party Conference, which Dave Prentis correctly stated received very little national media coverage.

However successive governments, supposed economic think tanks, business organisations and senior managers within the NHS have told the public and employees that only private business can provide an efficient, well-managed, cost-effective health service across the UK. A publicly-run service would apparently be bureaucratic, inefficient, poorly administered and waste financial resources.

An example of the business organisations is the seventeen top senior British business chief executives, who endorsed the swingeing business cuts, they themselves earn around a total of £26 million plus per year.

The Coalition Government are only offered loose reins to control the banks, major financial institutions and large multinational companies, who have benefited from the billions of pounds given to them to bail them out of the mess of their own system’s making.

The supposed slow sustainable economic recovery from the spectacular Autumn 2008 collapse in the bank and financial industry. This is at the behest of public services as Capitalism; the economic system will seek to strengthen the role of private ownership of the world’s resources at the expense of the wellbeing of the majority of the world’s population.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

1)continue building high-profile UNISON campaigns, including ‘A Living Wage’, ‘You’re Worth It’ and ‘A Million Voices for Change’ against further privatisation in the NHS, taking this into the TUC for wider support and involving community campaigning groups who share our views;

2)raise and discuss the prospect of a 24 hour public sector general strike against all the cuts;

3)assist branches and regions in maximising publicity across the UK against privatisation and cuts;

4)support UNISON members fighting privatisation, redundancies closure of NHS Services, downgrading of posts or other cuts, including organising legal industrial action where members vote for it;

5)continue campaigning against, the Con/Dem Coalition ideology of privatisation in the NHS, which it seems at the present time maybe continued by New Labour in the initial stages, if elected to form the next government. In raising the demands for democratic control of local health services by elected health workers and community representatives as well as elected representatives from local and national government;

6)campaign for PFI hospitals and all other privately owned aspects of the health services to be publicly funded and integrated back with the rest of the NHS;

7)campaign for the big construction companies, service companies, medical supply and pharmaceutical industries, who take billions of pounds out of the NHS to be part of a proper planned economy;

8)campaign against any financial penalties imposed by the European Parliament.