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Wednesday 5th June 2019

UNISON Eastern region

  • Victory for Princess Alexandra domestics on eve of strike

    Domestics at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow today called off six days of planned strikes after their employer dropped plans to outsource their jobs.

    The Trust had been market testing its cleaning and catering services with the aim of putting them out to tender, claiming just last week that it would take until at least August to make a decision.

    But following a resolute campaign by the 200 domestics, supported by UNISON, Princess Alexandra backed down, pledging to keep the service in house.

    UNISON warned outsourcing would lead to lower standards of cleanliness and create a two-tier workforce.

    Domestics voted by 99% to strike against the changes and were preparing to take six days of action starting tomorrow (Thursday) before the Trust backed down.

    Read more ...

Dr Sonia Adesara, junior doctor and member of Keep Our NHS Public

  • Donald Trump: hands off our NHS!

    Sonia Adesara started this petition to Liam Fox and 1 other

    As part of his visit to the UK, Donald Trump has just said that the NHS must be on the table as part of any trade deal with the UK after Brexit. This is a serious and direct threat to the NHS that we all know and love - so I’m calling on our government to guarantee that our health service will never form part of trade deal with America.

    As an NHS doctor I know how valuable our health service is. First and foremost I care about my patients, and I’m seriously concerned that this could be the beginning of the end for high quality healthcare for all in the UK.

    Opening up the NHS to US corporations would mean that the profit motive invades our NHS, patient data is up for sale, access to healthcare is rationed and we would be staring at a system, as in the USA, where if you can’t pay you don’t get care.

    Decent healthcare is a human right and should never be a commodity to be bought and sold. Let’s send a message to Donald Trump to keep his hands off our NHS and ask the UK government to explicitly guarantee that it will never form part of a trade deal with America.

    Our NHS is there for all of us at the best and worst times of our lives, it’s part of our identity, and it is not for sale. Please sign my petition to help protect our NHS.

    Dr Sonia Adesara, junior doctor and member of Keep Our NHS Public

    Read more ...

Thursday 30th May 2019

GMB and UNISON press releases

  • Victory for Liverpool ISS strikers

    Hospital staff from all the main unions at Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals suspended today’s strike action after a £400 million private outsourcing company agreed to give them a pay rise.

    The low-paid workers – who provide cleaning, porter and catering services – were due to walk out on Thursday May 30 2019.

    But outsourcing giant ISS Mediclean agreed to match the same percentage pay rise other members of staff across the hospitals have received – and back date it to the start of the 2018/19 financial year.

    Michael Evans, GMB Organiser, said:

    “This is a fantastic result for our members

    “Staff working for ISS Mediclean at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals had sent a clear message to their employer and the trust that they need this pay rise

    “GMB members stood firm and - with the help of members of sister unions and Mayor Joe Anderson – they got the result they deserved. 

Tuesday 21st May 2019

Nottingham KONP and John Lister


    Circle Healthcare have failed in their attempt to force local NHS Commissioners to award them the new contract to run the Nottingham Treatment Centre at the QMC. The High Court of Justice in London agreed that the contract should go to the Nottingham University Hospital Trust, as originally proposed.

    This means that all services at the Treatment Centre will now return in-house and the massive profits Circle have enjoyed for the last eleven years will now go towards treating NHS patients. The decision also means that Circle will lose the right to run their exclusive private hospital – from which NHS patients are excluded - in the same building.

    However the legal battle is not yet over: Circle has announced that it still intends to sue the 16 Clinical Commissioning Groups which commissioned the contract (and presumably NHS England, whose regional office supported the plan) for damages as a result of what Circle still calls an "unfair" procurement process. It's not impossible that a different judge on a different day might rule differently. Campaigners -- who mobilised in numbers at short notice to show their support for the NHS outside the High Court last week -- will remain vigilant.

    Mike Scott (Nottingham/Notts KONP Spokesperson) said:

    “This is excellent news for NHS patients and is the commonsense decision we were hoping for. It’s difficult to understand how Circle could even have taken this to Court in the first place. They seem to believe they have some sort of right to suck money out of the NHS for their own profit.

    "And no-one should forget that the Government are to blame for allowing them to do it. Work in all parts of the health service should be done by the NHS. That was the basis it was founded on in 1947, because it obviously made sense. It still does.

    "The whole tendering process is enormously expensive and needs to be scrapped. The NHS is short of money because of this sort of totally unnecessary waste.”

    Contact: Mike Scott (07443-611823)

    Read more ...

Saturday 18th May 2019

John Lister

  • Princess Alexandra Hospital cleaners 99% vote for action to halt outsourcing from the NHS

    Cleaners at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow have overwhelmingly voted to strike against plans to privatise cleaning services, and have appealed to campaigners in London, Hertfordshire and Essex to support their campaign as they prepare for action.

    170 domestic staff, members of UNISON, voted 98.6% in favour of strike action on an 83.5% turnout.

    UNISON's stand has been welcomed and supported in a statement by the other unions at the hospital.

    The domestic staff warn that if their services were to be transferred into the private sector it would spell ‘disaster’ for their patients, as hospitals with outsourced cleaning have higher rates of infection than those where the service is in-house.

    The in-house service is a modern day reminder of how ward teams used to work before privatisation in the 1980s began to split them apart, and effectively casualised many domestic services with low wages and exploitative conditions.

    As Claire Evans, a Princess Alexandra Hospital domestic, said:

    “We don’t just clean the wards, we bring patients their teas, we make sure they get their dinners, we chat to them. We make sure they feel as safe and comfortable as possible while they’re in the hospital because we care about them.

    “This vote is a clear message to our bosses that we don’t want to work for an outside contractor – we are proud to work for the NHS and serve our communities. Taking strike action is not an easy decision for any of us but we need to stand up for our jobs and our patients.”

    Princess Alexandra Hospital is currently one of the best-cleaned trusts in England, achieving one of the lowest rates of infection, including instances of MRSA.

    By contrast cleaners from the hospital have recalled the brief privatisation of services in the 1990s, when Mediguard had to hand back the contract after just one year because of its failure.

    The staff also warn that their pay and conditions will fall below their NHS colleagues if their services are outsourced, as a private company would not be part of any future NHS pay awards. New starters could also face substantially worse employment terms, with a private contractor facing no obligation to pay any more than the legal minimum.

    The workers will reveal their next steps, including any possible strike dates, next week. UNISON has urged the Princess Alexander Hospital to abandon its privatisation plans to avoid industrial action.

    Please sign the petition against privatising PAH cleaners.

    Read more ...

Monday 13th May 2019

Nottingham KONP

  • Keep Circle out of NHS! Lobby of High Court May 15

    A late notice call for campaigners and union activists who can do so to lobby the High Court, where they are hearing the challenge by Circle Health to a CCG decision to award a Treatment Centre contract to Nottingham University Hospitals Trust.

    Circle previously held the contract, but have a history of NHS contract failures. This is their second attempt to challenge the CCG's decision, which has been backed by NHS England.

    Those protesting against any further contract going to Circle include KONP and UNISON and Unite health branches in Nottingham.

    Lobby 12.30,

    Rolls Building,

    Fetter Lane

    London EC4

    Read more ...

Wednesday 1st May 2019

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Keep Our NHS Public PRESS RELEASE


    Circle Healthcare, the private company currently running the Treatment Centre on Nottingham University Hospitals Trust’s  QMC campus has begun court proceedings against the Rushcliffe Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to protect its profits.

    Having lost out twice to the NUH Trust in the new contract to run Treatment Centre services, Circle is now going to court for a second time, claiming the Trust can’t possibly treat NHS patients for less money, and that bringing the contract back in-house would be “unrealistic” and “not in patients’ interests”.

    The controversial company has had a number of major failures in the past, including the collapse of acute dermatology services at the QMC after they took over that contract, and handing back the contract to run Hinchingbrooke Hospital near Cambridge in 2015 only a couple of years into a 10-year contract because they weren’t making enough profit.

    Circle allege that the cost of in-house services would be higher due to staff benefiting from “improved NHS terms” – an admission that they are underpaying staff at present – and fail to mention the extent of the profit they have been taking out of the NHS for the past ten years.

    However both the CCG and NHS Improvement’s Regional Director of Finance have approved the in-house bid.

    Mike Scott (Nottingham/Notts KONP Spokesperson) said:

    “This is completely outrageous. Having been fairly beaten to this contract twice by better value public sector bids, they have gone to court to try to protect their profits.

    “Their past performance should have been enough to bar them from bidding for any NHS contracts. We will not stand by and watch them take urgently-needed money out of the public sector by the back door.

    “These people only care about profit, not patients. This is nothing short of a national scandal.”

    Contact: Mike Scott (07443-611823) nottskonpcampaign@hotmail.co.uk

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Ontario health Coalition

  • Ontario: More than 150,000 hospital and health care staff and patient advocates to join in Action Day to warn against health care privatization

    Across Ontario in more than one hundred hospitals and health care facilities, staff and patient advocates are staging an “Health Action Day” today, Tuesday April 23.

    In an unprecedented show of unity, more than 150,000 health professionals and workers and tens of thousands of patient advocates will wear a sticker that says “Stop Health Privatization” and will distribute leaflets warning about the Ford government’s radical health care restructuring plans.

    The Ontario Health Coalition has vowed to fight to protect local health care services from cuts, privatization, and mergers.

    The province's right wing Conservative government led by Doug Ford, which was elected last year, has given itself unprecedented powers to order the privatization of virtually all health care services and leaked documents show that plans are underway to begin privatization of a range of health care services.

    They have rammed a radical health restructuring law through the Legislature in an unprecedented undemocratic process, refusing to hear from thousands who applied for hearings and sent in submissions.

    All amendments prohibiting privatization were voted down by the Conservatives.

    The new law gives Ontario's Minister of Health and the government’s appointees in the new “Super Agency” the ability to force privatization of services as well as to merge, transfer services from town to town and from provider to provider, and close down services including public hospitals, long-term care, home care, community care, mental health, primary care, palliative care, cancer care, eHealth, air ambulance, laboratories and others.

    In addition, the list of health care cuts under the Ford government is mounting:

    ●  Cut OHIP+ (Ontario Health Insurance Plan Plus) forcing families with sick children to pay deductibles and co-payments. (June 2018)

    ●  Cut planned mental health funding by more than $330 million. (July 2018)

    ●  Cancelled all new planned overdose prevention sites. (Autumn 2018)

    ●  Let surge funding for hospitals run out. Surge beds are now closed without replacement, despite overcrowding crisis [Ontario already has the lowest level of beds of any comparable OECD country].

    ●  Cut and restructured autism funding. (Winter 2018/19)

    ●  Set health care funding at less than the rate of inflation and population growth, let alone aging. This means service levels cannot keep up with population need and will force cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Set public hospital funding at less than the rate of inflation alone. This means real dollar (inflation adjusted dollar) funding cuts and serious service cuts/privatization. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Cut provincial public health funding by 27% and cut public health units from 35 to 10. (2019 Budget)

    ●  Introduced Bill 74 which gives sweeping new powers to the Minister and Super Agency to force privatization and restructuring of the entire health system. (February/March 2019)

    ●  Plan to cut and restructure ambulance services, down from 59 to 10. (April 2019)

    ●  Plan to cut half a billion dollars in OHIP services. (April 2019)

    The Health Coalition is mobilizing for a massive Health Care rally outside the Ontario Legislature next week on Tuesday April 30 at noon.

    The rally is expected to draw thousands concerned about OHIP cuts, hospital cuts, privatization, mergers and centralization of health care services.

    Read more ...

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