Date: Fri 15 April 2011
UNISON health checks for ministerial candidates
Contenders for the position of Cabinet Secretary for Health
and Wellbeing in the next Scottish Government will lay out their
stalls at a major UNISON Scotland Health Conference in Glasgow
today (Friday, 15 April).
Some 150 UNISON delegates from Orkney to Stranraer will quiz
candidates on whether the National Health Service in Scotland
will be safe in their hands.
Health is a key election issue for UNISON members working in
NHS Scotland who rely on its services to support them and their
families, as well as being a key public service which they help
deliver 24/7, 365 days a year.
UNISON members will seek assurances from Scotland’s major parties
that they will not proceed down the road of Westminster’s Andrew
Lansley, who is proposing to open up the healthcare market to
the private sector.
Tom Waterson, chair of UNISON Health Scotland, said: “NHS Scotland
provides a quality service, with patient satisfaction levels
measured at consistently high levels.
“Health outcomes and waiting times have improved since devolution.
Scotland aims to be world class providers of health care, not
to waste taxpayers’ money on the nonsense of an internal market
which lines the pockets of shareholders and puts profit before
However, Scotland is not immune to the Lansley reforms. NHS
Scotland, for example, utilises certain specialist services
from south of the border which are either low volume or require
UNISON members will tell the politicians that, in order for
such services not to be subject to the market forces being promoted
there, the Scottish Parliament should seek to repatriate these
services to Scotland.
John Gallacher, regional organiser for UNISON, said: “A lot
of the patients referred to NHS England could, and should, be
treated in Scotland. The Scottish Parliament should take this
opportunity to seek to encourage repatriation to Scotland of
UNISON’s local government members will also be putting ministerial
candidates through their paces at a Local Government Hustings
in Trades Hall, Glasgow.
Questions will be put to the panel surrounding some of the
key issues identified in UNISON’s 2011 manifesto – For Public
Services. The panel will include Michael McMahon (Labour), John
Mason (SNP), Robert Brown (Lib Dem), Patrick Harvie (Greens)
and David Meikle (Conservatives).
PHOTO/MEDIA OPPORTUNITY You are invited to send a reporter,
photographer and/or crew to the local the Royal Concert Hall,
Glasgow, from 12.30-1.30pm on Friday, April 15, for the UNISON
Health Conference. The panel will include Jackie Baillie (Labour),
Nicola Sturgeon (SNP), Ross Finnie (Lib Dem), Patrick Harvie
(Greens) and Maurice Golden (Conservatives).