Oppose Devolution of the NHS – Model resolution

Model resolution – for consideration by branches

Oppose Devolution of the National Health Service

This branch recognises that where NHS Devolution has already occurred, as in Gtr Manchester, unions organising healthworkers will have to engage with the new structures in order to defend members. However, just as we are not compelled to welcome transfers of NHS staff to the private sector in order to support members forced out of the public sector, we do not have to welcome NHS Devolution. Where we have the opportunity to prevent further NHS Devolution, we will do so because:

1. There has been no consultation over proposed NHS Devolution with NHS staff, our union, or the wider public.

2. The NHS is facing an immediate budget shortfall of at least £2.5bn, and Government plans include an impossible target of £22bn in NHS efficiency savings by 2020/21. This is a political decision by central Government, whose consequences should not fall on any local authority.

3. Local authorities taking on NHS budgets will destroy the national structure of the NHS, which pools risk over the whole of England.

4. Local financial control of the NHS is a threat to national agreements on pay, terms & conditions for healthworkers.

5. The Cities & Local Government Devolution Act permits a weakening of standards governing the NHS through local agreements merely “having regard to” national standards, which need not enforce national standards.

6. NHS Devolution plans assume that integrated health and social care will reduce the demand for hospital care, thereby justifying hospital closures. Such plans lack clinical evidence. Merging health with social care opens the door to means testing of health care.

[if the union organises healthworkers, possibly in other branches] Whilst our union should engage with proposed new devolved authorities to allow the maximum defence of our members within them, this branch will at the same time convey our opposition to NHS Devolution to relevant local authorities, and campaign publicly against the NHS being included in any devolution proposals. We call on the area and regional structures of our union to do likewise.

[if the union does not organise healthworkers]

We recognise that unions which organise healthworkers will engage with proposed new devolved authorities to allow the maximum defence of their members within them. At the same time, we should oppose plans which adversely affect the wider trade union movement and the public, and seek cooperation with health unions in doing so. This branch will convey our opposition to NHS Devolution to relevant local authorities, and campaign publicly against the NHS being included in any devolution proposals. We call on the area and regional structures of our union to do likewise.