Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Set for Clashes over NHS Reforms

Magazine article Public Finance

Unions Set for Clashes over NHS Reforms

Article excerpt

The government faces a summer of discontent from NHS unions unhappy at its perseverance with market reforms.

Despite recent attempts by ministers to win back healthcare professionals' support for their reform programme, this week unions, including Unison, Amicus, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association, joined forces against many aspects of those reforms.

They will lobby MPs in advance of the TUC and Labour Party conferences next month and have requested an urgent meeting with Tony Blair to discuss planned NHS job cuts. A lobby of Parliament is planned for the autumn.

Much of the unions' concerns focus on the increasing influence of private healthcare providers, as well as the planned privatisation of NHS Logistics - Unison is currently balloting staff on industrial action against the sale.

The unions said: 'We do not believe that handing over the provision of services to private providers and allowing individuals and shareholders to make a profit from taxpayers is in the best interests of the NHS.'

Despite the campaign, ministers did not flinch this week from adding to private involvement in NHS services. …

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