UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Overcharging by private contractors – the great NHS rip off

The Independent has revealed that a company set up by Serco has overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds for diagnostic tests. Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee said: ’After a series of high profile failures, Government claims it has a grip on contracts with private companies to deliver our public services. Clearly it hasn’t. This is not just about ripping off the taxpayer, but about a failure to provide acceptable quality in a service that is vital for diagnosing what in many cases are serious or even life-threatening illnesses. It is also not the first time that serious concerns have been raised about Serco and its track record, including in other parts of the NHS where last year our Committee reported on substandard service and data manipulation in a contract to provide GP out-of-hours services’.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Government must share responsibility for repeated child protection failures

The Rotherham child abuse inquiry is the latest in a long line of investigations which have undermined public confidence in child protection services. Government ministers past and present waste no time in apportioning blame and calling for heads (of anyone but themselves) to roll. Local failings by social services and police are undeniable but the blame also lies with central Government – those politicians responsible for cutting funding of council and NHS services including essential outreach support for young people in particular; those politicians who have slashed social security benefits, those politicians driving a public service reform agenda based on competition rather than cooperation, those politicians responsible for inadequate regulation and standards.
     Professor Ray Jones wrote presciently on this subject last year: ‘What about the remit and responsibilities of government itself, and of politicians in Parliament, for child protection? How well have they been doing? Many might think that their contribution has not always been helpful..... Allocating blame and shame may not be the most constructive activity, and maybe social workers are not the most appropriate target anyway’

Sunday, 24 August 2014

TTIP and the duplicity of the European elite

The Critical Thinking blog has published a useful update on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). EU denials that ‘standards on consumer protection, on the environment, on data protection and on food are not up for negotiation’ are blatant lies. So too are purported assurances that the NHS is excluded from the scope of the proposed Treaty:

The Dead Angels by Rafael Alberti

Search, search for them:
In the insomnia of forgotten conduits
In gutters blocked by the muteness of litter.
Not far from the pools incapable of retaining a cloud,
A lost eye
A broken ring
Or a trampled star.
For I've seen them: