Saturday, October 08, 2011

Resisting an attack on the rights of nurses

Hat tips to both MJ at Union Futures and UNISON Anonymous for highlighting UNISON's robust response to the statement from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) plainly intended to discourage professional nursing staff from supporting industrial action.

As one of our senior officials observed at this week's UNISON National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, we can expect a lot of attacks in the coming weeks as we are taking on the establishment in this country by refusing to allow low paid public servants to pay with their pensions for the bail-out of the banks and a financial crisis not of our making. We can expect those attacks from politicians and the press - and now it would appear from other quarters.

It is disappointing to see a body such as the NMC taking such a blatantly political step. The politics are obvious - the NMC think to remind nursing staff that they are "personally accountable for actions and omissions in their practice" in the run up to a strike ballot. But there are much bigger threats to the standard of health care in England than strike action over pensions!

Where is the warning to staff who may omit to oppose the Government's plans to demolish the National Health Service? Since the NMC tell us that "nurses and midwives must ensure that their actions do not jeopardise good standards of care" perhaps they should also be pointing out that anyone quietly tolerating the assault on our NHS could be in breach of their Code?

Those who seriously care about patients should be supporting the campaign to stop the break up of the NHS, whether by "adopting a peer" to lobby or by taking more direct action tomorrow.

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