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4 December 2003

Tories on a 'Passport to Nowhere' Says UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest health and education union today warned the Tories they were on a "passport to nowhere" with their plans to introduce patient and pupil passports.

Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser of Health, said: "The Tories are on a passport to nowhere with their latest scheme for patient passports. I am sure that the Scottish electorate will see through their privatisation bid and refuse them a visa at the next election.

"David McLetchie's latest plan would rob the NHS of much needed funding and hand it over to the likes of BUPA and other private healthcare profiteers if they had the capacity here in Scotland. It is dishonest of the Tories to suggest that by introducing what is a voucher scheme that that would improve services to the people of Scotland.

" The reality is that as a result of nineteen years of lack of investment under the Tories we do not have the doctors, nurses, lab technicians, physiotherapists and occupational therapists that would be needed to expand the private sector. If David McLetchie doubts this fact, then he must answer the question - why was one of the biggest private hospitals in Britain, Health Care International, a failure?"

UNISON also slammed the Tories' proposals for 'pupil passports'. Joe Di Paola. Scottish Organiser for Local Government said

"The Tories attempt to fragment education in Scotland will do nothing to improve schools. It is simply an attempt to boost elitist private schools. It will in fact, reduce choices for all but a few pupils. Those who have the money will be able to play the system. The rest of us will suffer as resources leach out of the public service.

"Good public education requires to be resourced accountable, responsive to peoples needs and be provided by properly paid and trained staff. All of these principles are put at risk by David McLetchie's proposals. Proposals that appear to be a recycling of tired old English Tory policies."

UNISON has been campaigning to Revitalise Scottish Public services, and have produced a number of reports outlining the principles needed to do this.

ENDS Note to Editors: More details of UNISON's campaign are available on the website at http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/revitalise/index.html

For Further Information Please Contact: Jim Devine, Scottish Organiser(Health) 0141 342 2845(w) 07876 441239(m) Joe Di Paola, Scottish Organiser (Local Govt) 0845 355 0845 (w) 07990 505698(m)