New Unite national petition: Unite has outlined the next steps for its Health B4 Profit campaign, and will be encouraging members to sign a national petition and write to their MPs.
Subject: Labor unions (Beliefs, opinions and attitudes)
Labor unions (Aims and objectives)
Labor unions (United Kingdom)
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: 220 Strategy & planning; 200 Management dynamics Canadian Subject Form: Labour unions; Labour unions; Labour unions Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8630000 Labor Unions NAICS Code: 81393 Labor Unions and Similar Labor Organizations 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: 209163249

National petition to Gordon Brown

Unite has launched a national petition against increased privatisaton and fragmentation of the NHS. The petition was due to be launched on 21 September, and will be delivered to prime minister Gordon Brown.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail stated: 'As chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown did a wonderful thing when he put 1p on National Insurance to pay for investment in the people's NHS. Now as prime minister, he can build on this by calling "time" on the healthcare companies that seek to make a handsome profit from the sick, the elderly and the vulnerable.'

She added: 'To create these so-called market mechanisms that the British people have repeatedly said in opinion polls they do not want, it will cost an estimated 20 billion [pound sterling]. This is money better spent on frontline services - more health visitors, more hip replacement operations, and more day surgery.'

Unite plans to develop local campaigns and will be encouraging members to write letters of protest to their MPs. It will also produce a questionnaire to collect data on whether members are being consulted on in trusts' decision-making processes.

'We must avoid fragmentation'

Campaign plans were agreed after Unite received a letter from health minister Andy Burnham in response to its initial letter of protest, which was signed by 3000 members and delivered to the Department of Health (DH) in August.

Unite noted that the minister's response appeared to contradict itself in its attitude to the continued privatisation and fragmentation of the NHS. It highlighted DH support for plans to establish separate providers and commissioners, and for setting up social enterprises to reflect its commitment 'to develop the role of the "third sector" in the provision of public services.'

However, Andy Burnham also wrote: 'We must avoid fragmentation of provision and ensure standards. The Constitution responds to this challenge by safeguarding the future of the NHS in terms of the core values and the rights that patients and staff can expect from the NHS, irrespective of the type of provider.'

Gail Cartmail stated: 'Andy Burnham, by his own mouth, stated that the NHS should not be privatised or fragmented, however this was not addressed in the rest of his letter, which instead outlined a more privatised NHS.'

She added: 'We are continuing discussions with the minister who does seem to be listening to our concerns. It is very important to get genuine clarity as to the government's policy and what actions will take place to stop the present fragmentation we know will damage services.'

At the Trades Union Congress conference last month, Unite supported a motion calling for an end to the increase in privatisation in the NHS.
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