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STUC 2008



Event to celebrate NHS 60th Birthday

by Kate Ramsden

Lilian Macer

The STUC congratulated NHS Scotland on its 60th birthday and threw its weight behind UNISON's call for a special event to celebrate this anniversary.

Lilian Macer, UNISON Scotland's Vice-convenor and Health Executive Chair told congress that the NHS is the UK's greatest and most prized institution. "The principles of the NHS were to provide a comprehensive service funded by taxation, available to all and free at the time of need," she said, adding that record investment and service modernisation have delivered real improvements in health care.

"The NHS Together demonstration in London in November last year was a joyous celebration of the NHS, and the world saw how much our NHS, created by the trade union and the labour movement, means to the people and voters of the UK."

She warned, however, that the introduction of competition and the increasing involvement of the private sector is putting the NHS at risk. "We know there are still huge challenges and privatisation remains a virus in the NHS. We must continue to fight for the survival of the NHS that our movement created 60 years ago."

Lillian welcomed the Scottish Government's stated opposition to using public money to help the private sector compete with the NHS, and told Congress that this is in line with UNISON Scotland's aims, to see the delivery of healthcare on the basis of collaboration and co-operation rather than division and competition.

She called on Congress to give its support for the Scottish public service model as the strategy for delivering co-ordinated health services in Scotland and to continue to defend its principles as outlined by Nye Bevan when he said, "The essence of a satisfactory health service is that the rich and the poor are treated alike, that poverty is not a disability, and wealth not an advantage."

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