Monday, October 11, 2010

Save the NHS

A few days late, I shall aim to complete my reports from last Wednesday's full day meeting of UNISON's National Executive Council, which I shall blog in reverse order for no good reason whatsoever.



By the time we got to the agenda item for the General Secretary's Report we had already covered a lot of ground, but Dave asked the Head of Health to report on our response to the NHS White Paper.



We were told that UNISON's legal challenge to the White Paper (over the inadequacy of consultation) had sent "an almighty shudder through the Department for Health." The legal challenge is to be heard this Wednesday (http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c5398.extract) and we must hope it succeeds.



However, the best that this legal challenge can achieve will be delay and so we also need a campaign which must go beyond being a campaign "in" the NHS (though it must be the greatest of those there has ever been) to be a campaign "for" the NHS.



Once consortia of General Practitoners, expensively if not ably assisted by private consultants, start purchasing healthcare provision on the market, the "renationalisation" of the health service would probably require withdrawal from the European Union and abrogation of international treaty obligations.



The White Paper goes far further than any previous attempt to open up healthcare to private profit and would replace the National Health Service (in England) with a national healthcare market "free at the point of use" but increasingly prone to the development of two-tier provision as providers try to turn a profit.



For UNISON this is a great challenge to us to see to it that all our Service Groups and all our branches (even all our NEC members) are fully engaged in a struggle, which is in all our interests, to preserve the single greatest achievement of our movement.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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