June 5th last week we saw unions, coordinated by the TUC, show solidarity against the coalition intention to slash pay rates and depress staff morale. [When I say ‘slash pay rates’ this will be for public servants but not MP’s who will retain their gravy train!]
In London and Liverpool unions demonstrated and with a mock cheque as a prop illustrated to the public the amount in cash of goodwill hard working NHS staff give to ensure that the patient is cared for, diagnosed and treated.
In Liverpool Andy Burnham [Labour Shadow minister for Health] met with representatives from the unions to give thanks for their efforts and to extol the virtues of a new age under Labour if elected next year.
To the massed gathering he promised to repeal the Health and Social Care act; he promised to work to remove the market ethos from health; he promised to keep the NHS high on the list of key topics during the election and he promised not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
I assume that when he refers to the ‘mistakes’ he includes the creation of Foundation status, the introduction of competition; the failure to say that the NHS will be the provider of choice and the cosy relationship that Labour fostered with the private sector and let us not forget PFI. That will be quite a long list of mistakes then Andy!
So in looking at their list of mistakes and what they want to do as opposed to what they can do, we also need a reality check.
Scrap the Health Act- well: that is another reorganisation if they succeed- just what we need. Remove competition: well that will be interesting because when/if they get in power they will have to consider removing Foundation status and probably buy out existing contracts.
And here Labour has a dilemma because when Andy was asked if he would support AFC and hence national terms and conditions, he suddenly went all coy and vague. Is this because if Foundation Status is retained then Labour will have no power over their actions or to control their intentions? [We can recall the South West debacle where a collection of Trusts decided to move away from National T‘s and C’s- what would Labour do in this scenario- we can only surmise at this stage but it would be interesting!]
The problem is that in the run up to an election they can all promise the earth and when in power deliver a fraction of their intention.
With the political landscape as it is at the moment the likelihood is that we are not going to see one party with and overall majority and we will either have another botched coalition or a minority government existing on grace and favour.
In other words:
‘You know the really great thing about a fudged coalition is that neither of us need to carry out a single promise of election manifesto’s’
Alan B’stard [Rik Mayall -RiP]