UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Burnham pledges Labour's support for NHS

#uHealth2012 In a wide ranging speech Andy Burnham Shadow Health Secretary made a number of commitments to delegates on a future NHS under the next Labour Government. Health must be, he said, about people and not profit. The next Labour government would make the repealing of the NHS and Social Care Act a priority.

In the meantime it is the responsibility of every elected Labour representative to work with the health unions to try to minimise the impact of the Act. To loud cheers, Mr Burnham pledged that Labour would fight to defend the national pay structure and resist the introduction of regional pay.

Why, he asked should a health care worker in Leigh be paid less than a health care worker in a richer part of the country. Lansley’s proposals are shameful and show how out of touch he really is. Before the next election Labour and the unions need to create a vision of health care fit for the 21st Century. We need a system which treats patients as a whole person. This means having a fully integrated and collaborative health care system.

To deliver this Mr Burnham promised that a Labour government would invest in proper social care and remove the means test for end of life social care. In thanking Andy for his speech, UNISON President Eleanor Smith said we would keep him to his pledges.

Elsewhere conference heard a presentation from Christina McAnea, National Head of Health on the NHS employers’ proposals to seek changes to Agenda for Change. There are two key areas where the employers want to make changes. They want to reduce the sick pay scheme and the want a gateway at each incremental point. They also want to introduce discretionary points at top of the bands.