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

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Save our NHS - all roads lead to MCR on 29 September!

#undc13 The Con Dem coalition poses the biggest threat to the existence of the NHS in its 65 year history - a theme which ran through many debates at conference and was fully addressed by Composite D on NHS Campaigning. The motion was moved by Debra Turner (pictured) of Central Lancashire health branch who called on members to 'work with other trade unions, patient groups, community organisations to fight for the future of the NHS. We need to take our message and our vision to our communities'.  Debra's full speech can be read below...

'Conference we all know that the public sector has been under an unprecedented attack since this Tory led coalition came to power in 2010. Every day we see the impact of the government’s austerity policy on the delivery of essential services. We see how our members’ living standards have been systematically eroded through years of pay freezes and attacks on terms and conditions of employment.

During the course of this week we will debate hundreds of motions , important motions dealing with the current crisis affect the public services in this country. I do not underestimate the importance of each and every one of those motions.

But conference I do believe, and I make no apology for saying it, that this motion is probably the most important motion we will debate this week.

Believe me when I say the future survival of our Health Service is hanging by a thread, a very thin thread. And if that thread snaps, which is will much sooner than you might think if nothing is done, then the impact will be felt by every person in this Hall, and by all your family and relatives.

Since its foundation in 1948 the NHS has had to continually fight to get the necessary resources, we have had to fight the ideological attack from Thatcher, we even had to fight the disastrous PFI policy of the Labour government. But all this pales in comparison to the onslaught that the service is facing from the current government.

Under the cloak of austerity the government has seized the moment to dismantle the one area of our society that they, the Tories, have always been vulnerable on. They are implementing a well thought out pincer movement to undermine the very foundations of the NHS.

Firstly they have attacked the funding. The situation now is that most, if not all NHS organisations are facing financial cuts that are unsustainable. Trusts now acknowledge that any further cuts will affect patient care. Yet the Department of Health returned £2billion to the Treasury earlier this year. £2Billion that should have gone into patient care.

Secondly the government introduced a costly reorganisation. Costing over another £3billion. The only purpose of this was to set up the structures to allow further access from the private sector to lucrative health contracts

Thirdly the government have encouraged the outrageous media campaign by some sectors of the gutter press to attack the NHS and the staff working in it. They have misrepresented the Francis report, a report that recognised that financial cuts and staffing cuts had a big part to play in the Mid- Staffordshire crisis.

Fourthly the introduction of Any Qualified Provider has undermined the stability of NHS organisations finances, by compelling GPs to offer services to private providers. On the list of approved providers of diagnostic tests in greater Manchester over half come from private companies.

Composite D is a comprehensive motion committing the union to fight back. It is calling on members to work with other trade unions, patient groups, community organisations to fight for the future of the NHS. We need to take our message and our vision to our communities. In the North West we are campaigning successfully on 6 principles for health care

Free at the point of use

Paid for by fair taxation

Delivered by the Public Service

Full open, transparent and democratic

Care provided on basis of clinical need not ability to pay

Designed to promote Public Health

Conference in a few days time, 5th July, the NHS will be 65, Let us not see this government try to compulsorily retire our health service. Colleagues if you want the NHS to see its 66th Birthday support this composite and more importantly put it into action.

Conference I move'