Unison vows to fight care trusts amid fears of ‘medical muddle’

Unison members working in local government have voted to oppose
the establishment of NHS care trusts.

They are concerned that social care services will be transferred
to trusts which have “no local democratic accountability and a
management culture dominated by the medical profession”.

Delegates at the Unison Local Government Service Group
conference in Brighton this week voted unanimously to make a

The motion stated: “Unison members are … insulted by the
suggestion that their services can only be improved by transferring
their management to NHS bodies – an assumption which is not
supported by any analysis or evidence.”

Tess Green of Unison in Bristol, who proposed the motion, said:
“In care trusts, the medical muddle of care will prevail. In social
care we must not treat people like patients.”

The conference also voted to continue to campaign for reform of
the government’s Best Value initiative.

Union members voted to campaign against Best Value’s emphasis on
competition and markets, and its focus on league tables and
performance targets. The motion stated “the Best Value regime is in
conflict with the government’s social inclusion agenda”, and
speakers criticised the initiative for its “increasing emphasis on

Deborah McKelvine from the southern region Unison branch said:
“It is so important we oppose Best Value. We all know as local
government service workers, that the public sector is the only way
to deliver quality services.”

– Unison members have agreed to organise a national meeting to
tackle pay, conditions and the profile of social work.

At a fringe meeting, branch convenors from Haringey, Leeds and
Brighton agreed to take the lead in organising the event as a first
step to a campaign to improve the lot of social workers.

They vowed to approach union leadership for official support of
the meeting, which they hoped would take place in the autumn.

Laming: frontline workers invited to speak

Haringey social workers told the Unison conference that they are
to make a submission to the Laming inquiry into the circumstances
leading up to the death of Victoria Climbie. And they have invited
social workers across the country to contribute with details of
problems they face in their own regions.

Haringey social services convenor for Unison Pauline Bradley
said: “Frontline workers don’t usually get heard at all.”

She criticised the media for initiating a witch hunt of Haringey
social workers involved in the Climbie case and said the child had
been a victim of “conveyor belt social work” brought about by under
funding and continual management changes.



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