Tuesday, July 25, 2006

NHS strike ballot, demonstrations - the fight for our NHS hots up!

UNISON, the UK's largest health union, is to ballot staff at NHS Logistics for strike action over government plans to privatise the award-winning service.Staff at the five depots are angry at the proposed transfer of the entire organisation to private haulage company DHL.NHS Logistics is a not-for-profit organisation supplying hospitals, GP surgeries and patients with more than 43,000 items including essential surgical supplies and products ranging from aerosols and arrowroot to zinc and castor oil.

As a group of MPs released a scathing report on the system of NHS charges in the UK, pressure group Health Emergency warned that the scale of charging is set to escalate under New Labour's market-driven NHS reforms.

Health Emergency claimed that the Foundation Trusts, run as quasi-commercial businesses, are almost under obligation to squeeze every penny that they can out of patients and relatives when they are on the hospital site. The increasing involvement of private companies in the NHS means that they will bring their "maximum profit" practices into our hospitals and health centres.

At the weekend, 10,000 people took to the streets of Cheltenham in support of our NHS in a march and rally organised by the local UNISON branch.

UNISON will take the campaign to the TUC and to the heart of the Labour Party. With the other health unions, UNISON will be mobilising for a mass lobby of Parliament in the autumn and for a national demonstration in the New Year.
For more information visit www.healthemergency.org.uk and www.unison.org.uk.

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