Welcome to our website. We are a Health Care Sector UNISON branch with around 1200 members of whom approximately 800 are employed by Manchester Mental Health & Social Care Trust. Our other members are employed by a wide range of community health care employers across Manchester including Independent Hospitals, Nursing Homes and GP Practices. From January 2015 we have welcomed (back) into our branch members employed by Health Education England, NHS England, Public Health England and the Manchester CCGs. Many of these members used to be in our branch – employed by NHS Manchester or the Strategic Health Authority or the Manchester and Merseyside Deaneries. We’re pleased to have them back with us.
We hope that you find this web site both helpful and of interest. We wish to provide information about the branch and how to access help when you need to, as well as having links to UNISON’s National and Regional Websites, and to organisations campaigning about the NHS and other issues.
In addition we hope to keep you up to date with activities and priorities of the branch. We see this branch as an active, campaigning UNISON branch and hope to provide you with details of upcoming events we will be attending as well as reports, links and photographs as we develop this website.
There is a contact form available for you to contact the website administrators. There are further contact details of branch officers and stewards under the ‘Branch Activists’ tab.
A New Agenda for Whole Person Care
I attended the meeting at Manchester Town Hall, 11th April 2013, where the speakers were Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of Health and Paul Foley, Head of Unison Health in the North West.
Andy Burnham was airing his ideas for a joint health & social care service if labour get back into government describing the idea as early stage but listed his main priority: Creating an NHS/Social Care service for 21st century and the “whole person”. He quoted the World Health Organisation from 1948 of health being “A complete state of physical, mental and social wellbeing”.
The meeting centred on the change of national health provision from 1948 when people suffered physical danger, disease and illness to to the current time. A lot of the emphasis was on living longer and the need for more social care although he talked about all ages being included.
He criticised the separation of physical health needs, mental health needs and social care and talked about the need for an approach with care starting from the home.
In terms of funding his emphasis were Local Councils as lead commissioners and NHS as ‘preferred providers’ . He was keen on services for both health and social care free at the point of access but lots of discussion then went on about best forms of payment. He talked of “NHS preferred providers” and of reducing private providers but stopped short of NHS only providers and was keen to maintain voluntary and charity providers.
Paul Foley, from Unison North West Health spoke clearly about the need for adequate funding and services being provided on clinical evidence and funded by taxation (especially of the rich) to provider a “free at point of access health & social care service”. He also emphasised the need for public provided services; not private, charity or voluntary.
A main concern was whether this would need another reconfiguration of the health service with reorganization after reorganization being pushed onto the health service. There was some talk about working more closely together but without totally integrated services. Personally I don’t think this type of service would be achievable under current structures although others disagreed on this.
I also asked Andy Burnham about Mental Health Service users – would a separate mental health service be maintained. In politician style he reversed the question towards myself. I stated that a “whole person agenda may help from anti-stigma perspective but funding and prioritizing of mental health would be a strong concern.
Greater Manchester Federation Against The Bedroom Tax was launched on Tuesday 20th July with a meeting attended by 150+ people, a wide range of tenants and activists.
The bedroom tax is arguably this government’s fiercest attack on working class people and disabled people and unemployed since the Coalition has come into power.
This will affect 14,000 households in Manchester and 50,000 in Greater Manchester. The federation agreed to affiliate to the national No Bedroom Tax and Benefit Justice Campaign.
At its most basic this is a cut in Housing Benefit (for tenants of social landlords) of 14% of rent for those with 1 ‘extra’ bedroom and 25% of rent for those with 2 or more ‘spare’ bedrooms from April 2013.
Bedroom tax is already in place for those in private rented accommodation.
It applies to people in and out of work. One stated aim of the policy is to incentivise people to work; presumably by placing them in such poverty they are forced to take any job they can. It doesn’t apply to pensioners.
There is no provision for parents who have limited responsibility for children, such as visiting at weekends.
In a phone-in, Lord Freud, the author of the Bill, said to a father of 3 boys who visit him a weekends, that he should live in a 1 bedroom flat and the children share a sofa bed when they visit.
Between 66% – 72% of those affected have at least one member of the household who has a disability.
What to do now
Keep in touch with protests, updates and activities on www.nobedroomtax.co.uk
- Come to the public meeting: Friends Meeting House, Mount Street, 7pm Tuesday 19th March
- Attend rally against the Bedroom Tax at Piccadilly Gardens on Saturday 23rd March at 1.00pm
- Organise local tenants groups in your area
- Leaflet your local Social Housing areas
- Request Social Housing Landlords to reclassify their housing as ‘1 bedroom’.
- Write to MP’s and councillors with complaints.
- For further information see the website www.nobedroomtax.co.uk
The 2013 UNISON Health Care Service Group Conference takes place from 9.30am Monday 22 April to 4pm Wednesday 24 April 2013 at the SECC Glasgow.
The branch will be sending delegates and visitors to health conference and have submitted a number of amendments to motions, including the following one on Agenda for Change, about the changes which have now been agreed by the NHS Staff Council. Members who came to branch consultation meetings agreed they were willing to take industrial action to defend Agenda for Change, and that the changes are detrimental to Health Workers already facing attacks on working conditions, pension contributions and terms, and who have been subject to a pay freeze. The following is the text amendment which we hope to be able to discuss at Health Conference.
We believe defending Agenda for Change is not just the responsibility of branches but also the responsibility of our national Health Service Group Executive. We note that NHS employers proposed cuts to Agenda for Change of lack of unsocial hours payments in sick pay, reductions in incremental progression, generic profiles etc.
We censure the Health Executive for accepting these cuts to AfC despite clear conference policy from last year opposing any reductions in the pay or terms and conditions in AfC.
We make clear that we will not accept any further cuts in national pay or national terms and conditions and will not just fight local attacks on Agenda for Change but national attacks as well.
Please contact Caroline Ridgway for further information about health conference, if you are interested in attending as a visitor or to find out about the other amendments submitted by the branch.