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STUC 2011



Health and Social Care: 'Injury to one is an injury to all'

Lilian Macer
Lilian Macer
An Injury To One - Is An Injury To All is a timeless principle of the trade union movement. It's the principle that lies behind our Health and Social Care Services. It's the principle that underlines our determination to defend those services, those that rely on them, and those that provide them", UNISON Scottish Convener Lilan Macer told the STUC today.

Moving a motion from UNISON , the Society of Radiographers and the British Dietetic Association, calling for vital services to be protected, Lilian said, "We can see south of the border, an attempt to break up the NHS.

"The NHS in England is looking down the barrel at the most serious attack it has experienced in its 62-year history. Profit-hungry vultures no longer lurk in the wings - they have come out into open view. Salivating at the prospect of taking chunks out of NHS England.

"But NHS Scotland isn't run on the basis of competition or market mechanisms. Our NHS is run on the basis of partnership working and we're going to keep it that way.

Underlining UNISON's opposition to privatisation of services, she said "public services should be delivered by public bodies with directly employed staff."

Low, mean, dishonest trick

Lilian turned to the 'less obvious attacks'. "The tricks of those who are planning to slice into social provision and then try to cover up the wound with sticking plasters labelled 'personalisation' or 'reform'".

"Let's be clear We have nothing to fear from reform. Ensuring the effective use of public money should be the concern of everyone, unions, managements and citizens alike. But congress when the first question isn't "How do we make a better service?" Or "How do we make a more responsive Service?" When the first question is "How do we make a 20% cheaper service?" It's not about reform It's about attacking services - And it's a low mean dishonest trick to try to implement cuts to the services of the most vulnerable people in our society by trying to pass it off as reform."

But 'reform' is not the only con. "The other is personalisation", said Lilian. "We support the principle of the right to independent living for all care users. We believe that everyone should have as much independence, choice and control over their care and support arrangements as they need."

But this has to be real choice. "Not the only option because other facilities and arrangements have been closed or made unavailable.

"Personalisation should be an option. But not a cheap option.

"There are those that see personalisation as a wonderful way of magicking millions out of social care budgets. They think that by passing money to people directly - that they won't notice it's less than they used to rely on. It's a sleight of hand that hopes, by atomising service users, there won't be any comeback. Well congress I don't think it's magic - I think it's another low, mean, dishonest trick.

"We need to make it clear that we will stand up for ourselves and in doing so for those who need us most", Lilian concluded.

"And we should say absolutely clearly to the politicians and decision makers in Holyrood and council chambers They need to accept responsibility for the decisions they take about peoples lives, they can't blame anyone else. And that we expect more from our parliament and councillors, than a rubber stamp on David Cameron's cuts agenda."

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