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

Monday, 30 September 2013

After #NHS299 - the fightback starts now

As the dust settles on the magnificent UNISON-led demonstration through Manchester on Sunday, the big question on activists lips is “What next!” That is the right question and the answer must be that we build on the momentum of the energy and passion shown by the 60,000 people snaking through the city centre demanding that we fight to save the NHS. This is a fight which everyone has a part to play.

Trade Unions need to galvanise their members back at the workplace. Local branches need to challenge the acceptance of local health trusts that there is no alternative to the viscous cut backs and outsourcing of services. We can follow the example of UNISON members striking at ‘Future Directions’, a dispute to not only protect workers pay and conditions but also an essential service to vulnerable clients.

Communities too need to be mobilised to defend their NHS. Pressure can be built on commissioners. Lobbies of Clinical Commissioning Groups and Health and Well Being Boards can highlight the impact of cutbacks in local services. UNISON branches and community organisations need to get involved in and challenge the many reviews of local services. Our position must be that any changes need to demonstrate clear improvements to patient outcomes and quality and not to make the services cheaper.

Local politicians must be made to stand up and publicly declare their support for the NHS and demand a reversal of the dismantling of our NHS.

Magnificent though Sunday’s march and rally was, it will take concerted action in every community and health organisation in the country to defeat the Tory led onslaught on our health care system.