Assurances over frontline services: unite says that its Health B4 Profit campaign is 'genuinely making progress' with the government in working to influence how future public sector savings may be made.
Subject: Labor unions (United Kingdom)
Labor unions (Aims and objectives)
Government spending policy (Health aspects)
Public health (Finance)
Pub Date: 10/01/2009
Publication: Name: Community Practitioner Publisher: Ten Alps Publishing Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 Ten Alps Publishing ISSN: 1462-2815
Issue: Date: Oct, 2009 Source Volume: 82 Source Issue: 10
Topic: Event Code: 250 Financial management; 220 Strategy & planning Canadian Subject Form: Labour unions; Labour unions Computer Subject: Company financing
Product: Product Code: 9105200 Health Programs; 8630000 Labor Unions; 9005200 Health Programs-Total Govt; 8000120 Public Health Care NAICS Code: 92312 Administration of Public Health Programs; 81393 Labor Unions and Similar Labor Organizations; 923 Administration of Human Resource Programs; 62 Health Care and Social Assistance SIC Code: 8631 Labor organizations
Organization: Government Agency: United Kingdom. National Health Service
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United Kingdom Geographic Code: 4EUUK United Kingdom
Accession Number: 209163228
Full Text: Unite has welcomed government assurances that it does not intend to cut 'vital frontline services', following prime minister Gordon Brown's speech at the Trades Union Congress (TUC) conference.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail stated: 'The prime minister pledged no cuts to frontline services and emphasised government's commitment to the NHS and education. It is fair to say Unite's Health B4 Profit campaign is genuinely making progress and health minister Andy Burnham seems to be listening. We have sought his assurance that there will be no return to the "slash and burn" actions of the past.'

In his speech, Gordon Brown stated that 'we will cut inefficiencies, cut unnecessary programmes and cut lower priority budgets', but stressed that cuts will not be made to 'vital frontline services'.

Unite has also spoken out against recommendations from management consultant McKinsey, which recommended a 10% cut to NHS staff in order to make savings of 20 billion [pounds sterling].

Gail Cartmail stated: 'Government policy is placing emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion, a boost for the poor relation primary care within which the community nursing workforce is vital. Take for example the link between Sure Start children's centres and health visitor leadership. Our concern is not the number of health visitors and school nurses but rather the large volume nearing retirement with record low numbers of trainees and newly qualified.'

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She added: 'McKinsey was rightly brushed aside by the government, now we need the government to deliver on increasing the number of health visitors and school nurses and to pull back on the various privatisation exercises that will effectively waste 20 billion [pounds sterling] through the cost of transactions to oil the emerging market in health care.' A report by the TaxPayers' Alliance stated that by abolishing Sure Start children's centres, a saving of 1456 million [pounds sterling] from 2010 to 2011 onward could be made. It also proposed that ContactPoint and the investment programme Building Schools for the Future should be abandoned.

Unite/CPHVA lead professional officer Cheryll Adams stated: 'There is no doubt that individual Sure Start children's centres have helped many families, but there is a need to examine whether the outcomes might have been better and cheaper if the investment had gone into improving health visiting services, as the health component seems essential to Sure Start effectiveness.'

Gall Cartmall at the TUC conference
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