Thursday, July 13, 2006

Health campaign reported to NEC

At the UNISON National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on 12 July, Dave Prentis, General Secretary, elaborated on the report he had given earlier to the TUC delegation meeting. He emphasised the concern of all the trade unions (including those not affiliated to the TUC) at the change of direction of Government policy in relation to health in recent months. He expects that the vacancies for Chief Executive and Head of Human Resources for the NHS as a whole will both be filled from the private sector.

The Royal Colleges of Nursing and of Midwives, as well as the British Medical Association, were united with the TUC affiliated health unions, led by UNISON, and would be briefing all MPs before the summer recess. After major fringe meetings at both the TUC and Labour Party Conferences (at both of which it is likely that UNISON will put this issue on the agenda) there will be a mass lobby of Parliament in the autumn and, provisionally, a national demonstration in the new year.

Dave described UNISON’s objective as to “slow down the pace of change”. NEC members from the West Midlands region reported on very successful campaigning activity across service groups in their region, and I asked that this information be passed on to all regions.

Some concerns were expressed about the timetable for the campaign, I was concerned that we should not be too timid. However, some colleagues from the health group pointed out that the situation on the ground was uneven, as cuts were biting deep in some areas but not others, and that we needed time to get a national campaign off the ground.
I hope all branches will get involved with this campaign – we must not leave our health service brothers and sisters to fight alone to defend the NHS, upon which we all depend. I imagine that further details will be posted at the relevant point on the UNISON website - http://www.unison.org.uk/healthcare/keepNHSworking/.

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