Solidarity Magazine » NHS http://solidaritymagazine.org Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.8 London nurse wins landmark equal pay case http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/london-nurse-wins-landmark-equal-pay-case/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/london-nurse-wins-landmark-equal-pay-case/#comments Sat, 30 Jul 2011 17:28:08 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1643 Continue reading ]]> UNISON helped a nurse win a landmark equal pay claim against City & Hackney Teaching Primary Care Trust.

The Trust failed to justify Gloria Emmanuel’s pay being lower than her male comparator’s, a maintenance supervisor.

The first test* case in the equal pay claims against NHS Trusts – of whether employers can justify paying women less than men under the old Whitley Council pay system – will have implications for thousands of claims being pursued.

Bronwyn McKenna, Assistant General Secretary of UNISON, said:

“This is a landmark case that should send out a clear signal to employers that it is not right to pay women less than men. It is a real shame that the Trust wasted so much time and taxpayers’ money fighting a claim it could not justify. Women are bearing the brunt of the Government cuts, as well as facing a rising cost of living. It is unfair to force women to take home less than a man for doing the equivalent job. This victory will have implications for thousands more NHS women workers’ cases.”

Gloria Emmanuel said:

“This has been a tough fight, but I am pleased that the Trust has finally seen sense.
It is not right for bosses to force women to take home less money than male colleagues doing equivalent jobs.

Hopefully, the years of fighting have been worth it and my case will pave the way for other workers to get fair pay.”

Caroline Underhill, of Thompsons Solicitors, who represented Mrs Emmanuel, said:

“This is a significant legal landmark in the NHS cases, which we hope will now mean that a more cost effective resolution through settlement can be achieved.”

The Trust had admitted that Mrs Emmanuel’s work was of equal value to that of a maintenance supervisor, as the jobs were equal under the NHS job evaluation scheme, Agenda for Change. The Trust also confirmed that the maintenance supervisor had a more favourable term when it came to the weekend working rate.

As the majority of NHS nurses are women and the majority of craft maintenance workers are men, a connection between the pay variation and gender could not be avoided.

City and Hackney Teaching PCT argued that there had been separate bargaining processes for the pay and other contract terms of the claimant and other nurses, and those of her comparator and other maintenance supervisors.

The Trust also claimed that the variation in the rate of basic pay was needed to maintain a connection between the pay of craft maintenance workers, including maintenance supervisors, in the NHS and in the external market.

However, the Tribunal found that the Trust had not shown the pay difference to be justified by market forces, or separate processes for pay bargaining.

 

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Doctors to launch public campaign against proposed NHS reforms http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/doctors-to-launch-public-campaign-against-proposed-nhs-reforms/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/07/doctors-to-launch-public-campaign-against-proposed-nhs-reforms/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2011 16:52:04 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1637 Continue reading ]]> BMA votes to reject idea that changes to health and social care bill will reduce the risk of privatisation of the health service

Randeep Ramesh, social affairs editor, Guardian Wednesday 20 July 2011

The government faces a summer of discontent over its NHS reforms after doctors voted to launch a public campaign against the health bill, and one of the UK’s internet campaign groups raised £10,000 in three hours after emailing members to pay for expert legal advice over the bill.

The British Medical Association’s council, the executive committee of the union, voted to pass a series of motions critical of the government’s bill – and crucially accepted that doctors “start a public campaign to call for the withdrawal of the health and social care bill”.

Put forward by NHS consultants Clive Peedell and Jacky Davis, the motion will ratchet up the pressure on ministers over the summer break who had hoped that the bill’s third reading in early September would be an easy ride.

The BMA, which represents 140,000 doctors, voted to “reject the idea that the government’s proposed changes to the bill will significantly reduce the risk of further marketisation and privatisation of the NHS” and “agreed that the government is misleading the public by repeatedly stating that there will be ‘no privatisation of the NHS’”.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of council at the BMA, said: “Whilst the BMA recognises there have been some changes following the listening pause, there is widespread feeling that the proposed legislation is hopelessly complex, and it really would be better if the bill were withdrawn.”

His colleague on the council Dr Peedell said that the health bill was “just a privatisation bill with a third of it devoted to [producing] an economic regulated market”.

To underline that the government’s attempts to dissipate professional and public anger – such as the legislative pause – have had little effect, internet campaigners at 38 Degrees, which has 850,000 members in the UK, claimed to have raised cash at the rate of £56 a minute via an email marketing campaign on Wednesday.

The money will be used to get lawyers to comb through the 180 amendments produced by the government when it re-submitted the bill for its second reading earlier this month.

“38 Degrees members want to cut through the tangled web of amendments which make up Andrew Lansley‘s re-written NHS plans. So we’re chipping in to hire legal experts to go through them with a fine tooth comb,” said the organisation’s executive director, David Babbs. “We’re concerned that real threats to our NHS may still lurk behind Lansley and [David] Cameron’s warm words. Are we on a slippery slope to the NHS being broken up by EU competition laws? Why does Lansley seem to be watering down his legal duty to provide a national health service?”

Labour’s John Healey pounced on the news of opposition to the bill. “Despite David Cameron‘s promises, his health bill changes are a bureaucratic mess, not a proper plan for improving patient care. Now people are realising that despite the ‘pause’, the wasteful and unnecessary reorganisation is going ahead and the long-term Tory plans to break up the NHS remain intact.”

The Department of Health said: “We will never privatise the NHS. The BMA’s position is disappointing because previously the doctors’ union said there was much in our response to the listening exercise that addressed their concerns, and that many of the principles outlined reflected changes they had called for.

The independent NHS Future Forum confirmed there is widespread support for the principles of our plans to modernise the NHS, including handing more control to doctors, nurses and frontline professionals.

Patients will never have to pay for NHS care. The bill has changed substantially since the BMA first voted to oppose government policy. Our plans have been greatly strengthened in order to improve care for patients and safeguard the future of the NHS.”

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Doctors reject revised NHS plans http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/doctors-reject-revised-nhs-plans/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/doctors-reject-revised-nhs-plans/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2011 16:42:41 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1620 Continue reading ]]> By Nick Triggle Health correspondent, BBC News, in Cardiff

Doctors have rejected the government’s revised NHS plans, urging their union to take a tougher stance.

Delegates at the annual British Medical Association conference voted in favour of calling for the Health and Social Care Bill to be withdrawn by 59%.

The union initially welcomed concessions by ministers this month on competition and patient choice.

But doctors at the Cardiff meeting said it was time to keep pushing the government “further and harder”.

The plans involve opening up the health service to greater competition and giving GPs a lead role in spending the NHS budget.

Amid mounting criticisms the government put the changes on hold in April. Two weeks ago ministers attempted to appease opponents by watering down certain aspects of the plans.

But delegates at the BMA said they were still not satisfied – despite pleas by BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum not to vote in favour of a series of critical motions.

One of those was calling for the bill underpinning the changes to be withdrawn.

Dr Meldrum said he would continue to ask for more.

But he added: “If you push too far you may lose some of the ground you have taken.”

But delegates were not convinced with 59% voting in favour of the motion.

Dr Jacqueline Applebee, a GP from London, said the overhaul would result in one of the “biggest ever social injustices” as it would lead to charges for services and backdoor privatisation.

We have a duty to past, present and future generations,” she said.

Paddy Glackin, who is also based in London, added: “This is a slippery government that we cannot give any wriggle room to. This is not the time to back off, this is the time to push further and harder.”

Vote ‘disappointing’

It is the second time the BMA has called for the bill to be withdrawn. In an emergency meeting in March doctors voted in favour of it being withdrawn, but their attitude softened when the concessions were published, with the union’s leaders indicating they were willing to work with ministers to get the bill right.

That stance will now harden following the conference vote. In fact, Dr Meldrum is likely to convey the message on Tuesday afternoon when he gives evidence to the House of Common’s bill committee about the reform programme.

A Department of Health spokesman said: “This vote is disappointing because only a few weeks ago the doctors’ union said there was much in our response to the listening exercise that addressed their concerns, and that many of the principles outlined reflected changes they had called for.

“The bill has changed substantially since the BMA first voted to oppose government policy. Our plans have been greatly strengthened in order to improve care for patients and safeguard the future of the NHS.”

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Open letter to the medical profession: Now is the time to get tough on NHS reform http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/open-letter-to-the-medical-profession-now-is-the-time-to-get-tough-on-nhs-reform/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/open-letter-to-the-medical-profession-now-is-the-time-to-get-tough-on-nhs-reform/#comments Sun, 26 Jun 2011 15:42:09 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1605 Continue reading ]]> We are writing as a group of concerned doctors and we are also members of UK BMA Council.

Next week the representatives of UK doctors meet in Cardiff for the annual BMA meeting. The meeting occurs at a time when the NHS is at a crossroads. ??The 60-page Government response to the Future Forum does nothing to reassure us about the Health and Social Care Bill and its underlying aim to impose a fully-fledged market on the NHS, which will result in increasing fragmentation and privatisation of the English NHS.

It has become very clear that on close inspection of the Government’s response to the NHS Future Forum report, the key changes that the BMA and other organisations like the RCGP have asked for have not been met:

1. That the Secretary of State should retain responsibility for ensuring provision of a comprehensive health service.

A technical briefing note on the Government response by the Public Interest lawyer Peter Roderick and Dr Evan Harris concluded that “it appears that the new Bill will continue to propose abolition of the Secretary of State’s duty to provide health services in accordance with the Act, and of his or her duty to provide the key listed NHS services, and will not propose to give this duty to any other body”

2. That Monitor’s primary role to promote competition should be removed.

Although the regulator, Monitor, will no longer “promote” competition “as an end in itself”, the government says that it “will maintain the existing competition rules for the NHS” and give it a “clearer statutory underpinning” which implies that there will be at least the same, or more competition, and not less. The government will do this by making the Department of Health‘s Co-operation and Competition Panel (CCP) a statutory body within Monitor “retaining its distinct identity”.

In addition, “the NHS Commissioning Board in consultation with Monitor will set out guidance on how choice and competition should be applied to particular services, guided by the mandate set by Ministers”. The NHSCB will also set clear expectations about offering patients choice through a “choice mandate”. Dr Evan Harris has stated that “this is simply reintroducing the marketisation of the NHS – rejected by (the LibDem) conference – by the back door of the NHSCB.”

To make matters worse there remains lack of clarity on EU competition Law, which could irreversibly open up the NHS to overseas providers competing for NHS contracts paid for by UK taxpayers.

3. Reducing the role of ‘Any Willing/Qualified Provider

According to the Government response, the revised bill will outlaw the Government now, or in the future, from naming the NHS as ‘preferred provider’. This clearly opens up the NHS to an “Any Willing/Qualified Provider” rather than reducing it. In addition, the staff “right to provide” policy will enable groups of clinical staff to set up their own social enterprises or “mutuals” and sell their services back to the NHS.

These are just a few examples of the ways the Government has crossed the “red lines in the sand” of the BMA and RCGP in order to stay on course with its original plans. It does not surprise us that the Lib Dem MP, Andrew George, who sits on the Health Select Committee, said: “If the Government had been listening it would have scrapped the Bill. Instead it looks as if they’ve just massaged and tweaked it a bit.”

Other examples in the Government’s response, which confirm its original direction of travel include: (i) the outsourcing of the function of commissioning to private companies, exposing the system to a whole new raft of even less identifiable conflicts of interest; (ii) the extension of personal health budgets; (iii) promotion of the choice agenda (which promotes competition); (iv) no mention of a reversal in the policy of allowing the NHS CB and commissioning groups to introduce additional charges for services they decide are not part of the NHS (Clause 22, para 14s of the bill); (v) retention of all the mutually reinforcing levers of a healthcare market (patient choice, competition between a plurality of providers, Payment by Results, and freedom for Foundation Trusts).

Thus, it is clear that the NHS will be subjected to increasing market competition and private provision and commissioning of services, which will undermine the founding principles of the NHS and drive it towards a mixed system of funding. In addition, the work of Lucy Reynolds from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine published in the BMJ last week also described how the bill could allow private companies to strip NHS assets “leading to more a expensive system that will deliver worse quality of care”. We therefore totally reject the repeated claims of the Coalition leaders that their reforms will deliver greater NHS efficiency and that there will be “no NHS privatisation”.

If all of this is not bad enough then even the supporters of clinically led commissioning must be highly concerned with a return of central control in the NHS via a strengthened NHS Commissioning Board and clinical senates. Thus, even the potentially “good part” of Dr Meldrum’s “Curate’s egg” has now gone rotten.

In conclusion, the simple fact is that the Government’s proposed changes to the bill are mainly cosmetic in nature. There are no ‘significant’ policy changes that will alter the general direction of travel of the reforms and we believe the proposals will actually create even more problems for the NHS by increasing the tiers of bureaucracy. It is at this point that we would remind Mr Clegg that “no bill is better than a bad bill”. He would also do well to listen to views of his fellow liberal Democrat colleague, Dr Evan Harris, who dismissed the NHS Future Forum’s paper on Choice and Competition as “cliché-ridden, trite nonsense” at the Social Liberal Forum last weekend.

It is incumbent on us as doctors to ensure our patients will always have access to a health service that does not differ across the country, a health service that is there when you need it and does not require an insurance policy or self funding if you need some extra care that your personal budget won’t fund. ?The NHS is facing the biggest threat in its history and as its founder, Anuerin Bevan famously said: ‘It will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.’

We therefore urge members of the medical profession to take up the fight for the NHS by continuing to oppose this damaging bill and call for its withdrawal. We urge them to lobby their MPs, members of the House of Lords, and BMA representatives by highlighting what this bill means for the NHS, the profession and our patients.

Dr David Wrigley, GP, Carnforth, Lancashire

Dr Clive Peedell, Consultant clinical oncologist, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough

Dr Jacky Davis, Consultant Radiologist, Whittington Hospital

Professor Ian Banks, President of European Mens Health Forum and Professor of Men’s Health, Leeds Metropolitan University

Mrs Anna Athow, Consultant Surgeon, North Middlesex Hospital

Written in personal capacities and all are members of BMA UK Council

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UNISON response to NHS Future Forum http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/unison-response-to-nhs-future-forum/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/unison-response-to-nhs-future-forum/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:14:49 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1580 Continue reading ]]> UNISON, the UK’s largest union, said today that the Future Forum’s report into the NHS Health and Social Care Bill, shows a Bill beyond repair. Even if the Government adopted all the report’s recommendations,

“It is still the wrong Bill at the wrong time” warned Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest union. Really big questions over critical issues such as privatisation remain unanswered: just how will the government prevent “cherry-picking”? And why are there no limits on the amount and range of services that can be privatised. “
Mr Prentis, went on to say:

“The Forum is recommending sweeping changes to the Bill because it is riddled with flaws. It exposes the real agenda behind the Government’s Bill – the wholesale marketisation of the NHS. It wants to turn our health service into nothing more than a logo on the side of a van run by a multinational company.

The Forum’s changes may airbrush out some of the flaws, but no amount of fiddling round the edges is good enough when the future of an NHS free and accessible to all is at stake. The Bill is beyond repair and should be scrapped.

Crucially, the report fails to mention the importance of keeping the cap on the number of private patients hospitals can treat. This means that NHS patients are likely to find themselves at the end of a very long queue.

Cameron may say he is not privatising the NHS and that it is safe from cuts, but the reality in hospitals and primary care services up and down the country tells a different story. The Government is using the Bill as a smokescreen to cover what is happening right now in the NHS. The £20bn that the Government is demanding from Trusts in so-called efficiency savings is leading to longer waiting lists, patients waiting in pain for their operations and job cuts across the NHS.”

The Government is belatedly beginning to realise it has gone too far. The outcry from the public and from h13 June 2011

The NHS privatisation programme is still on track despite protests by health professionals to the Future Forum ‘listening’ exercise, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Monday 13 June).

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‘NHS privatisation train has not been derailed by Future Forum report’, says Unite http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/%e2%80%98nhs-privatisation-train-has-not-been-derailed-by-future-forum-report%e2%80%99-says-unite/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/%e2%80%98nhs-privatisation-train-has-not-been-derailed-by-future-forum-report%e2%80%99-says-unite/#comments Tue, 14 Jun 2011 11:12:46 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1578 Continue reading ]]> 13 June 2011

The NHS privatisation programme is still on track despite protests by health professionals to the Future Forum ‘listening’ exercise, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Monday 13 June).

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said that the NHS had been through an unprecedented year of uncertainty – but the report of the Future Forum, unveiled today, will do nothing to quell the concern of health professionals and patients.

It has been a wasted year that has caused havoc with the NHS which had just received its best patient satisfaction survey for a generation.

Unite said that the Future Forum had done some good work in exposing the flaws in the controversial Health and Social Care bill, but the pace of privatisation had only been slowed, not discarded – which will not meet the concerns expressed by the Liberal Democrats at their spring conference.

The recommendation that Monitor’s duty to promote ‘competition’ should be removed in favour of ‘choice’ for local people still left question marks about what this exactly means in relation to the role of the private sector in the NHS.

Unite national officer for health Rachael Maskell said:

The problem with Monitor is that it will now promote choice, competition and collaboration – all of which are contradictory aims. The hybrid mess that Monitor will become will do to the NHS what other botched regulatory bodies have done to other public services – from rail to social care. Unless patient care comes first, then Monitor will fail patients – and our politicians will have failed them too.”

Unite repeated its call for the bill to be scrapped and that a commission of genuinely independent experts be set up to conduct a proper review of what is needed for the long-term needs of the NHS.

Rachael Maskell said:

The Future Forum has come up with a series of placebos; suggesting tinkering with the timescale, playing down the involvement of private healthcare companies, and the health secretary remaining ultimately in charge of the NHS.

The way that David Cameron and health secretary Andrew Lansley will interpret the Future Forum’s recommendations is that the pace of the privatisation of the NHS will be slowed down, but not abandoned – that’s the crux.

The bill’s troubles will continue if the coalition persists in sidelining the legitimate concerns of health professionals, patients and the public.

The Liberal Democrats have to be aware that the privatisation train – which will turn into the gravy train for private healthcare companies – has not been derailed, but just delayed.”

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Crunch week for NHS as ‘privatisation’ controversy rages over PM’s ‘pledges’ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/crunch-week-for-nhs-as-%e2%80%98privatisation%e2%80%99-controversy-rages-over-pms-pledges/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/crunch-week-for-nhs-as-%e2%80%98privatisation%e2%80%99-controversy-rages-over-pms-pledges/#comments Sun, 12 Jun 2011 18:03:10 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1573 Continue reading ]]> 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: http://www.unitetheunion.org/pdf/110608%20Unite%20Briefing%20on%20DC%20speech.pdf

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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Crunch week for NHS as ‘privatisation’ controversy rages over PM's 'pledges' http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/crunch-week-for-nhs-as-privatisation-controversy-rages-over-pms-pledges/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/crunch-week-for-nhs-as-privatisation-controversy-rages-over-pms-pledges/#comments Sun, 12 Jun 2011 19:03:10 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1573 Continue reading ]]> 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: http://www.unitetheunion.org/pdf/110608%20Unite%20Briefing%20on%20DC%20speech.pdf

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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GPs not fooled by David Cameron’s pledges – doctors vote overwhelmingly to prevent destruction of NHS http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/gps-not-fooled-by-david-cameron%e2%80%99s-pledges-doctors-vote-overwhelmingly-to-prevent-destruction-of-nhs/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/06/gps-not-fooled-by-david-cameron%e2%80%99s-pledges-doctors-vote-overwhelmingly-to-prevent-destruction-of-nhs/#comments Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:02:16 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1557 Continue reading ]]> 9 June 2011

GPs have voted overwhelmingly to continue to oppose the Health and Social Care bill.

The GPs, including members of the Medical Practitioners Union (part of Unite) were among 250 GPs present at the British Medical Association’s annual GP conference in London today (Thursday).

The vote reflects that doctors are also not convinced that the prime minister’s pledges will safeguard the service.

Ron Singer of the Medical Practitioners Union said:

“GPs were not fooled by the warm words of the prime minister. Today GPs have signalled to the government that their health bill is not acceptable in any aspect. The general consensus is that this bill must go.

It poses the greatest threat to the NHS since its inception. Far from improving the nation’s health, such is the scale of the change the government is seeking to impose, they will compromise the health of the nation and endanger patients.

Whatever the prime minister may promise, the medical experts are telling him this bill will fragment the NHS. Our parliamentarians must now listen.”

Ron Singer added:

“GPs are those charged with putting the government’s plans into action so we need to be convinced by them, but we have been warning for months that they simply will not work.

The government would not listen then, it has shown not to be listening during the pause and we are extremely sceptical that the prime minister’s pledges, however well-intentioned, will make these plans any more acceptable.

GPs are warning again today – this bill is a serious threat to patients’ lives and the future existence of the NHS itself. It must go.”

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UNISON calls on Lansley to hear the criticism and drop the bill http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/unison-calls-on-lansley-to-hear-the-criticism-and-drop-the-bill/ http://solidaritymagazine.org/2011/05/unison-calls-on-lansley-to-hear-the-criticism-and-drop-the-bill/#comments Fri, 13 May 2011 17:16:37 +0000 http://solidaritymagazine.org/?p=1528 Continue reading ]]> Health Minister Andrew Lansley must do more than listen – he must hear and act on the barrage of criticism and opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill. This is the message from UNISON, the UK’s largest union, representing more than 450,000 health workers, in its response to the NHS ‘Listening Exercise’.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said:

“Andrew Lansley seems incapable of actually hearing the outcry from patients, public, staff, health experts, charities, health economists and even from within the coalition government.

“The public do not want a health service where people can buy their way to the top of the NHS queue, or where healthcare is rationed to make profits for private companies and their shareholders. We know that three quarters of bankruptcies in America are because of the high cost of health bills – no one wants the NHS to be dragged in that direction.

“The Government’s plans are riddled with conflicts of interest and undermine the accountability of the NHS to patients and the public. Patients will soon be priced out of care and see services, wards and hospitals lost without any arrangement to continue treatment.

“We believe the bill is too fatally flawed to be amended and should be dropped completely. “

UNISON’s key objections are:

The government’s plans put competition at the heart of the NHS not patient care.

The end of the cap on the number of private patients hospitals can treat will lead to less profitable NHS patients being pushed to the back of a very long queue.

The full-blooded market system will allow services, wards or even entire hospitals to be lost without the necessary contingency arrangements to protect continuity of care for patients.

The move to Any Willing / Qualified Provider will lead to instability and waste. It could even lead to less choice for patients in the longer term.

Plans to undermine NICE and bring about “medication tourism” will increase health inequalities and threaten value for money.

 

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