Crunch week for NHS as ‘privatisation’ controversy rages over PM's 'pledges'

10 June 2011

As the future of the NHS faces a crunch week, Unite, the largest union in the country, has issued a new briefing saying the prime minister’s pledges on the health service were ‘a personal guarantee of chaos’.

Unite, which has a 100,000 members in the health service, said that David Cameron’s recent speech outlining his five ‘personal guarantees’ would actually make matters worse rather than better.

The briefing can be viewed on the Unite website:

The briefing comes as the Future Forum, which has been carrying out consultations during ‘the pause’ in the progress of  the controversial Health and Social Care bill, is due to unveil its report on Monday (13 June). The government’s response is expected later in the week.

Unite national officer for health, Rachael Maskell said:

This is, indeed, a crunch week for the NHS.  Health professionals have made it very clear that these proposals won’t work – and this was overwhelmingly restated by doctors this week at the British Medical Association’s annual GP conference in London.

Now is the time for the MPs to listen very carefully to what the professionals and their constituents are saying. People really rely on the NHS which they don’t want privatised for profit. MPs, especially the Liberal Democrats, should put the founding principles of the NHS before narrow party advantage.

It is time to scrap the bill and conduct a proper review of what is needed for the long- term needs of the NHS and our nation’s health, rather than rush through a biased, lop-sided listening exercise. It is time for a commission of genuinely independent experts to be set up.”

Unite believes that the prime minister’s ‘compromises’ will neither meet the concerns of his Liberal Democratic allies, outlined at their spring conference in March, nor protect the NHS from rapacious private healthcare companies wishing to gobble up profitable and ‘cherry picked’ health service contracts to the detriment of a joined-up and universal health service.

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