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UNISON is over 25yrs old and throughout that time there has been constant NHS reorganisation, austerity, privatisation both overt and covert, cuts and casualization of NHS staff leading to the very different NHS that we have today. An NHS that despite the best efforts of staff is partly failing because of the fragmented healthcare provision provided in England.

There is a wealth of unnecessary contract bureaucracy with associated costs. The health and social care act 2012 introduced by the Con/Dem coalition government paved the way for private companies to hoover up NHS contracts in England under the slogan “any qualified provider”.  If we stripped away only half of these organisations we would save a significant amount of money that could be reinvested in front line care. The models of healthcare in both Scotland and Wales are different to England and result in free prescriptions for patients and free car parking for both patients and staff throughout those two countries.

In Scotland there are 14 territorial NHS boards, Seven special NHS boards and one Public health body. In Wales there are seven local health boards, and three country wide NHS trusts. Whereas the fragmentation of NHS services within England is staggering:

  • 207 CCGs
  • 135 acute non specialist trusts ,
  • 17 acutre specialists trusts ,
  • 54 mental health trusts
  • 35 community providers ,
  • 10 ambulance trusts

And most alarming of all

853 private organisation providing NHS care.

A consultation document put before the NHS England board in April 2019 stated  “that the regulations made under section 75 of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 should be revoked and the powers in primary legislation under which they are made should be repealed and replaced by a best value test. Doing so would free the NHS from overly rigid procurement requirements” NHS England 2019

 In Plymouth alone we have UHP ( Derriford ) and Livewell  providing NHS services.  Back in 2017-18 these two services were proposing to merge. The following statements released by Livewell Directors at the time were:

“Our intention is to explore integrating the services of Livewell Southwest and Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust so that we provide the best possible care in a seamless way for the people of Plymouth and the wider peninsula we serve.”  18th Dec 17

“Our Board has now unanimously agreed to work towards joining Livewell Southwest CIC with Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust to build on the very best that we both have to offer.” March 2018

But this merger was cancelled in 2019 with little fanfare and a brief a statement was released;  “I’m pleased to tell you that we’ve also taken an important step towards providing more integrated care by entering a formal agreement with University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust (UHP) to work collaboratively as delivery partners, while remaining as two distinct and separate organisations.” June 2019

The benefits to merging are numerous but include :

  • An Integrated seamless care provision for patients
  • A joined up health provision that both patients and staff can navigate through and understands
  • No need to spend time, resources and money on tendering contracts
  • Less bureaucracy and duplication of management
  • A better chance to secure national funding that is given solely to NHS services
  • A workforce where national terms and conditions of employment are secured
  • A whole workforce that can sign up to NHS pensions

We believe public, patient and staff opinion on our side to bring back services which used to be provided by the NHS to the NHS as the poll carried out by YOU GOV suggests

Join us in our campaign to get politicians to deliver what the public want, a publicly owned NHS