UNISON health conference opens in Brighton

President and service group chair welcome delegates and introduce this year’s key themes

Libby Nolan at health conference

UNISON’s annual national health service group conference opened in Brighton this morning, with union president Libby Nolan (pictured above) saying that it had been a “really tough year for us…We say that every year, don’t we?”

Sending “solidarity” to ambulance workers, she noted that, as ambulances queue outside A&E departments, unable to hand over patients to hospitals because of waiting times, they are bearing the brunt of the crisis in the NHS.

Elsewhere, applauding a recent back-pay win, she told delegates that, while people join UNISON for different reasons, she had joined the union to increase her wages.

“We can put so much money in people’s pockets” when members stick together, she said – money that could help members not having to apply to the union’s charity, There for You, for winter fuel grants.

Wilma Brown speaking at UNISON 2024 health service group conference

Wilma Brown, chair of the service group executive (pictured above), also addressed conference, saying “it’s also been a successful year.

“One Team for Patient Care is our slogan for conference – we live and breathe [solidarity] every day.”

“Ours is a union for everyone,” she told delegates.

Citing the recent win by Dudley Mitie health support workers in their struggle to get the private employer pay them the COVID-19 bonus promised by the government at Westminster, she pointed out that the situation illustrates why outsourcing is so bad and that such workers should be brought back in house.