19 June: Sharon Graham, Executive Officer of Unite and organiser of the union’s ‘Save our NHS’ campaign in the UK, will speak to a gathering of key union officials at the union’s Antrim Road Offices in Belfast at 11am tomorrow morning (Friday, June 20th).
Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, said:
“The ‘Save Our NHS’ campaign has already had some dramatic successes in Great Britain where campaigners have overturned proposals which would have transferred Health Trusts and Hospitals to the private sector.
“What is at stake in England and Wales is nothing less than the complete destruction of the National Health System as a publicly-delivered service, free at the point of delivery and funded through progressive taxation.
“Thankfully, this agenda is not so advanced in Northern Ireland although the recent ‘Transforming Your Care’ policy represents the greatest restructuring of our Health and Social Care system since its establishment and opens the door to hollowing out the health system in Northern Ireland through cutbacks and rationing. In particular, proposals to offload social care to a community sector unable to bear the strain threatens statutory care provision to the most vulnerable in our society.
“Unite is determined to work with, and in support of, local communities to successfully prevent this from happening. Our health system is something to be proud of – there is no place in our NHS for profit-makers; patient care must be the overriding priority not shareholders’ interests.
“Tomorrow’s meeting will kick-off this important campaign work in Northern Ireland. In particular, I am looking forward to learning how the new ‘leveraged’ approach to campaigning pioneered by Unite in England and Wales can be used to local success”, Mr Kelly concluded.