London’s NHS at the Crossroads

People's Inquiry for London's NHSThe London and Eastern region of Unite is extremely proud of our decision to sponsor the People’s Inquiry into London’s NHS. 

A year on from the original People's Inquiry into London's report a follow-up review has just been published once again revealing the shocking lack of strategic overview of healthcare in London. 

Read NHS into the unknown, 2nd report of the People's Inquiry into the NHS, published March 2015 here. 

This union represent tens of thousands of NHS workers in the capital but more than that, our members from all walks of life pay for and rely on the service.

Our members – from support staff to expert clinicians – have been heavily involved in campaigns to defend the service across the capital; fighting cuts and closures and raising concerns about service delivery and patient safety across the capital.

We realised that to fully understand the scale of change, to understand if our alarm at government policies was truly well founded, it was essential to find out what was happening London-wide. We needed a picture of the NHS across the capital, which is why we established the Inquiry.

The Inquiry has now published its report – the result of seven public meetings and hearing contributions from 95 people – which launched at the House of Commons with the six-person panel that presided over the People’s Inquiry.  The report was funded by Unite, the country’s largest union, with a 100,000 members in the health service. The full report and a summary can be downloaded on the right.

The NHS has been placed in a headlock by this government, trapped between the punishing financial restrictions and huge cost savings being imposed. Money is being wasted as administration has ballooned and costly agency staff are used to cover for staff cuts.

The decision by the health secretary to cut the wages of NHS staff for another year – ignoring the expert advice of the pay panel – will only drive more skilled professionals to the door, unable to afford the cost of living and caring in London.

Unite has always believed that the Health and Social Care Act 2012 was going to lead to the dismantling and fragmentation of our NHS – and we are now seeing these consequences.

Our NHS has given generations of ordinary people enhanced life chances, but is at the most dangerous moment in its 66 year history. This immense, collective effort to ensure decent health care for our people, is being systematically undermined.

The fight is now on to safeguard the service, to preserve it for future generations. As Bevan said, it will survive as long as folk have the faith to fight for it.

Unite has faith. The challenge is now with Unite, the Labour movement and concerned bodies to take up these recommendations. We need to discuss and debate them so we have a clear consensus about what needs to happen after the next election to put the NHS back together again.

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