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Unions plot ‘first big move’ against white paper

By Gareth Iacobucci

A new campaign backed by ten major unions has been launched against the coalition’s health white paper.

Unions representing around four million workers have teamed up with grassroots health campaigners and patient groups for what they describe as the ‘first big coordinated move against the new reforms’.

The campaign, organised by the NHS Support Federation and backed by big-hitting unions including Unison, Unite, and the GMB, is warning that proposals outlined in the Government’s white paper ‘will break up NHS services’.

The group said it was aiming to mobilise NHS staff and patients against the white paper to ‘exert maximum pressure on MPs’ before the health bill is put to Parliament.

The campaign adds to growing opposition to the bill – with shadow health secretary Andy Burnham launching his own campaign against the proposals, and Unison recently launching a legal challenge to the plans.

Paul Evans, director of the NHS Support Federation, said ‘The white paper is the most extreme reorganisation of the health service since it was founded in 1948, but was not mentioned in either the Conservative or Lib Dem manifestos. The public are not being given the chance to say no and don’t realise how far the reforms will go.’

The joint statement says that the NHS is already making £20bn of ‘tough savings’, and pours scorn on the use of the NHS market.

It added: ‘In the face of the threat of the white paper proposals, we are asking all NHS supporters to come together to protect the NHS and safeguard its future.’

The unions are aiming to mobilise NHS staff before the health bill is put to Parliament The unions are aiming to mobilise NHS staff before the health bill is put to Parliament Countdown to commissioning… are you prepared?

The clock is ticking with just over two weeks to go until the end of the consultation on the health white paper, Liberating the NHS: commissioning for patients. Yet there is still a huge amount of uncertainty within the healthcare community, with questions being thrown up around the work and responsibilities that will be involved in the ‘new’ NHS.

Come to the NAPC Annual Conference to hear from Andrew Lansley, secretary of state for health and help answer your pressing questions.

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