DATE: 6 Aug 2010
Forging ahead with plans to implement English NHS White Paper before consultation illegal warns UNISON
UNISON, the UK's largest public service union, is preparing to take urgent legal action to protect the NHS from being torn apart. The union says that NHS Chief Executive, Sir David Nicholson, is pressing ahead with plans that have neither Parliamentary approval nor legal backing.
The move centres around the status of the UK Government's latest NHS White Paper that proposes sweeping changes. Sir David Nicholson is accused by the union of pre-empting the result of the consultation and subsequent Parliamentary process by writing to Strategic Health Authorities, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and other providers with a series of "actions that we need to start now".
The letter states that under the present law it is simply unlawful to propose a series of far reaching, top-down changes to the NHS without giving the public, patients and interested parties, including UNISON, a proper opportunity to have their say about the proposals.
The union’s letter warns that unless the union gets a satisfactory response, urgent Judicial Review proceedings are on the cards.
Karen Jennings, UNISON Head of Health, said:
“The Government’s White Paper will change forever the NHS as we know it. These sweeping changes were not part of any party manifesto and it is outrageous that these changes are being brought in without consulting the public, patients, staff and unions.
“The NHS Constitution enshrined in law the right to consultation and yet, in writing to NHS managers, Sir David is working on the premise that the consultation is only about the best way to achieve pre-determined outcomes – this makes it nothing more than a paper exercise and a sham.
“We have asked for a response within 7 days and if we are not happy with the reply we are reserving the right to issue urgent Judicial Review proceedings.”
* “Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS
From UNISON UK news release