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Date:Thurs 27 Oct 2005

Value staff to deliver Kerr report - says UNISON

UNISON, Scotland's largest healthcare union today urged the Scottish Executive and health boards to properly value NHS staff and use in-house expertise in jointly planning the key improvements recommended in the Kerr Report.

UNISON Scotland made the call ahead of todays Scottish Parliament debate on the future of Scotland's healthcare (Thursday). It follows the union's detailed response to Professor David Kerr's report on the structure of the NHS in Scotland.(available on the UNISONScotland website - www.unison-scotland.org.uk/healthcare/kerrreport.html - from later today).

The union believes that embedding partnership working and empowering front-line staff can help establish a collaborative approach in community health partnerships which is vital in achieving health improvement targets.

The Kerr report, published in May, laid out a 20-year plan for the Scottish Health Service. UNISON has already broadly welcomed its recommendations and called on the Scottish Executive to implement them.

Glyn Hawker, Scottish Organiser for Health, said today: "As the union representing most staff delivering Scotland's healthcare, UNISON agrees with Professor Kerr that the workforce is the key to what the NHS can deliver and how the service is re-designed.

"Scotland has a highly trained and committed staff and the current policy of partnership working has a track record of success which can help transform NHS Scotland over the next twenty years."

However, she stressed that UNISON remains fundamentally opposed to the use of the private sector to cut waiting lists.

"Using private hospitals for diagnostics and treatment leads to greater inequalities in patient care, poaches valuable staff and is poor value for money" Ms Hawker said.

"Instead the NHS should introduce improved referral systems and the streaming of patients, and maximise the use of equipment and resources"

Ms Hawker added: "UNISON welcomes the majority of Professor Kerr's recommendations, but there are areas of concern. For example, the poor value for money in existing and newly proposed PFI projects, other use of private firms and ensuring the best use of information communications technology (ICT)."

"We have concerns about the use of private management consultants by the Scottish Executive Health Department and NHS Boards to support strategic projects. We would like to see in-house expertise built up in this area, particularly in commissioning large capital projects, and in ensuring the quantum leap necessary to provide the best ICT.

"We also want to see an examination of value for money in the economics of existing and any newly proposed PFI projects, including quality and value for money of the provision of soft facilities management services such as catering, cleaning and laundry."


For Further Information Please Contact: Glyn Hawker (Scottish Organiser - Health) 07958 120 625(m) John Gallacher (Regional Officer) 07748 637 097(m) Chris Bartter(Communications Officer) 0845 355 0845(w) 0771 558 3729(m)


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