Thursday, July 27, 2006

Health unions tell Hewitt to save the NHS


Health unions have warned the government of a "complete collapse of morale" in the health service, should the breakneck speed of NHS reform remained unchecked. A delegation led by the TUC met health secretary Patricia Hewitt yesterday to express concerns about the "creeping privatisation" of the service, the pace of change and the lack of consultation. The crisis talks came as UNISON threatened strike action over the government's plans to privatise the award-winning NHS Logistics. The health unions have also committed to a major joint campaign to press home the problems faced by their members.

Local actions in September, alongside fringe meetings at the TUC and Labour Party Conferences, will lead up to a major lobby of Parliament in October, regional demonstrations in November and a national demonstration in the New Year. Details of the official campaign are at www.unison.org.uk - other national campaign information is also available at http://www.keepournhspublic.com/index.php and at http://www.healthemergency.org.uk/.

Health Emergency are working with the local UNISON branch at the South London and Maudsley trust (SLAM) where proposed cutbacks include the closure of rehabilitation, Older Adult and specialist care beds, the merger and reduction of Home Treatment Teams, addiction and dual diagnosis services and nursing home care for older adults, and cutbacks in care for Learning Disabilities, women and child and adolescent services. The Maudsley Hospital's unique
Emergency Clinic a London-wide resource faces closure by October.

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