This site is intended for health professionals only

Unions ‘prepared and ready’ for pensions strike action, and other health stories

Our round-up of health news headlines on Friday 9 September 2011.

The TUC is ‘prepared and ready' to co-ordinate strike action between unions, including the BMA, if talks over public pension reforms fail. Brendan Barber, the TUC's general secretary, told the Guardian that Government plans for increased pension contributions, starting with an extra £1.1 billion from next year, were a ‘money grab'. The 17 unions representing health workers, including the BMA, have already agreed to co-ordinate any industrial action.

Apart from public sector pensions the government also faces challenges over the Health and Social Care Bill with the Guardian reporting that Liberal Democrat rebels are planning a fresh move against the Government's health reforms at their party conference.

One effect of the reforms is to lift the cap on the amount of private work that NHS hospital trusts can carry out and the Independent reports that the Royal Marsden plans to boost its income from fee-paying patients by 38% over the next two years as its NHS income is squeezed.

In the House of Lords the Mail reports eminent doctor Lord Robert Winston telling peers that nurses from Eastern Europe put NHS patients in danger because they cannot communicate properly with them or their doctors.