The NHS is 63 today. Health professionals are united in their opposition to the ConDem coalition government’s Health and Social Care Bill which has the intention of destroying the NHS.
UNISON General Secretary, Dave Prentis, delivered a giant birthday card to the Department of Health today (5 July), to mark 63 years since the NHS was founded.
The chief of the UK’s largest union, joined other union heads and health workers, to warn the Government that the NHS would not make its 64th birthday if plans set out in the Heath and Social Care Bill go ahead.
The plans will lead to the break-up of the NHS and private companies grabbing huge chunks of the NHS birthday cake.
Across the UK, health workers and members of the public are also hosting birthday events and campaigning against the reforms.
Dave Prentis said:
“For 63 years doctors, nurses and other health workers have made the NHS the national treasure it is.
“Now the Government is trying to destroy the health service and open it up to private companies, who will put patients before profits.
“The Bill should be binned and started from scratch, as it is a recipe for disaster.
“The NHS must be safeguarded, so it can celebrate its 64th birthday.”
The card, which was signed by the TUC General Council and senior union officials, along with many members, said:
“We need to safeguard the future of the health service for generations to come.
The greeting inside the card reads: ‘The Health and Social Care Bill sets out hugely damaging changes to the NHS. We are worried that they could mean taxpayers’ money for the NHS diverted to big business, and competition instead of the increased collaboration patients need. We want to safeguard our NHS and make sure that there is a 64th birthday to celebrate too.”
RCM general secretary Cathy Warwick this morning joined representatives from the TUC and unions representing health workers, and helped hand deliver a giant birthday card to the Department of Health to celebrate 63 years of the NHS.
The card will be delivered to health secretary Andrew Lansley at Whitehall. Carrying a four-foot card, the union leaders will highlight concerns that the changes the government is proposing in the Health and Social Care Bill will fundamentally undermine the founding principles of the NHS.
Cathy Warwick said: ‘The NHS is a national treasure and should be protected not dismantled. Midwives are some of its many unsung heroines. They work long hours because they want to be with women before, during and after childbirth. The erosion of midwives’ pay and conditions, however, is making working conditions unsatisfactory for midwives because they are not able to give the care they want to women.
‘Meanwhile, there are not enough midwives to deliver the care that women need now. I have real fears that maternity care could suffer as trusts struggle to cope with health reforms and the profound change in its structure.’
Listen to Cathy Warwick talking about delivering the card and her concerns about the Health Bill in the RCM Communities vlog.