A few recent news articles concerning the UK’s Conservative and Liberal-Democrat coalition government – the ConDem’s – brutal attack on the National Health Service.
Unite, Britain’s biggest union, will meet with Linda Hamlyn, chief executive of the NHS Blood Service today (Friday 15 April), as the union releases an independent poll of 18,000 people showing that 74 per cent oppose the privatisation of any part of the blood service.
Unite will tell Linda Hamlyn that: “Whether it is the frontline or the back office, privatisation of any part of the blood service contaminates the whole of the blood service.”
The union will demand that the chief executive gives a ‘copper bottomed’ guarantee that there will be no further privatisation of the service. The poll also showed that 70 per cent of those who opposed privatisation had either given blood or had considered giving blood.
The Department of Health is currently leading a review into ways the NHS Blood Service could cut costs. As part of the review the Department of Health is talking to private providers. Unite has repeatedly asked for clarity on the future of the blood service, but both the National Blood Service and the Department of Health have failed to rule-out privatisation of parts of the blood service despite massive public opposition.
Unite national officer, Jennie Bremner, said: “Whether it is the frontline or the back office, privatisation of any part of the blood service contaminates the whole of the blood service. The people of this country are overwhelmingly opposed to privatisation. We expect the chief executive, Linda Hamlyn, to give us a ‘copper bottomed’ guarantee that there will be no plans to allow private companies to profit from the blood service.
A DENTIST resorted to crime in order to treat deprived patients on the NHS, even claiming money for patients who were dead.
Bristol Crown Court heard that Dr Jonathan Hunt had a £323,000-a- year contract to provide NHS dental work at his practice in Stapleton Road, Easton, Bristol Crown Court was told.
But he inflated his claims for work by £77,800, based on false treatment said to have been carried out on former patients plucked at random from his records.
Judge Carol Hagen handed him a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years, with 300 hours’ unpaid work. She handed Hunt £5,000 court costs, payable in 14 days.
She told him: “There was no element of personal gain whatsoever.
“On the contrary, you subsidised staff salaries from your own salary.
JOHN Pugh last night launched his most outspoken attack yet on under- fire health secretary Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms.
The Lib Dem compared ”train crash” plans to impose free market-based health competition to the Poll Tax proposals that brought down Margaret Thatcher.
Speaking to the Visiter after a motion of no confidence in Mr Lansley was passed with 98.76% support by the Royal College of Nursing, Dr Pugh said if left untouched, the reforms could “bring down the Government”.
In cash terms the King’s Fund predict a £35bn NHS funding shortfall in 2014/15. This is based on a King’s Fund estimate that in 2014/15 the NHS will cost £149bn to run. The latest government plans will see the NHS receive £114bn in cash terms for that same period. Even if you take into account an optimistic £20bn efficiency saving from the year 2011 onwards, this is a serious funding shortfall.
In real terms the King’s Fund predict an NHS funding gap of £28bn. This is taking into account that the King’s Fund expect the NHS to cost £133bn in real terms in 2014/15. The government NHS spending plans are expected to show almost no real term increases from current levels of spending (at best, 0.1%). This sets the current NHS spending of £106bn for 2010/11 for the next 4 years in real terms. These figures where also explored in a Guardian article earlier this week. Again this is a serious shortfall in spending.
Thousands of NHS workers in the Unite union could strike alongside teachers, lecturers and civil servants in a fight with the government over public sector pensions.
Unite’s national health committee yesterday (Friday) voted in favour of co-ordinating industrial action with other public sector unions on 30 June.
The union’s occupational committees will now discuss the issue before the health committee meets to make a final decision on 11 May.
“This is partly about our pensions, but it’s about the NHS as well.” Unite executive member Gill George, told Socialist Worker.
“In the discussion on our health committee, we were very clear that this isn’t just a fight for ourselves—it’s also to stop the cuts and privatisation that are destroying our health service.
“Striking alongside other public sector workers makes sense. Around a million workers could be on strike at the end of June.