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UNISON Response To NHS Future Forum NHS Report

UNISON, the UK’s largest union, said today that the Future Forum’s report into the NHS Health and Social Care Bill, shows a Bill beyond repair. Even if the Government adopted all the report’s recommendations, “It is still the wrong Bill at the wrong time” warned Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON, the UK’s largest union.

Really big questions over critical issues such as privatisation remain unanswered: just how will the government prevent "cherry-picking"? And why are there no limits on the amount and range of services that can be privatised.

Mr Prentis, went on to say:

“The Forum is recommending sweeping changes to the Bill because it is riddled with flaws. It exposes the real agenda behind the Government’s Bill – the wholesale marketisation of the NHS. It wants to turn our health service into nothing more than a logo on the side of a van run by a multinational company.

“The Forum’s changes may airbrush out some of the flaws, but no amount of fiddling round the edges is good enough when the future of an NHS free and accessible to all is at stake. The Bill is beyond repair and should be scrapped.

“Crucially, the report fails to mention the importance of keeping the cap on the number of private patients hospitals can treat. This means that NHS patients are likely to find themselves at the end of a very long queue.

“Cameron may say he is not privatising the NHS and that it is safe from cuts, but the reality in hospitals and primary care services up and down the country tells a different story. The Government is using the Bill as a smokescreen to cover what is happening right now in the NHS. The £20bn that the Government is demanding from Trusts in so-called efficiency savings is leading to longer waiting lists, patients waiting in pain for their operations and job cuts across the NHS.”

“The Government is belatedly beginning to realise it has gone too far. The outcry from the public and from health unions and professionals is forcing it to think again. But cobbling together a half-hearted compromise will not help the NHS, its patients and staff.”

Download and view the full report here

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