I have been involved working in the NHS for about 25 years. My first job as a GMB union organiser in the East Midlands meant working in Kingsmill Hospital in Mansfield (among others) representing the cleaning staff. I was called in when the employees had been TUPE’d to a private cleaning company. In other words cleaning had been outsourced. The workers were rightly complaining that the new rota’s didn’t allow enough time for thorough cleaning. They said they couldn’t clean wards in the time allowed. They warned it would lead to dirty wards. This process was replicated right across England and those cleaners were absolutely right – out breaks of MRSA were the result.
Years later I was Regional Head for the South of England looking after midwives and helping to run the Royal College of Midwives’ first historic strike action in our 133 year history. The decision to walk out came after the Conservative government chose to reject a recommended 1% pay increase.
In 2017, with the relentless Tory erosion of our National Health Service, Labour Party members took action and thousands of Ramsgate residents signed our ‘Stop Crushing our NHS’, petition to Jeremy Hunt.
Recently, including today, I will be proudly representing a broad range of NHS staff, mainly managers, as a national officer for Managers in Partnership (MiP) an arm of the public service union, Unison. The managers are there to try to ensure our NHS works as smoothly as it can, a task which is getting harder and harder. Like the front line workers, these managers experience the daily stresses and workplace issues that today’s NHS throws up.
Happy 70th birthday to our NHS – but get well funded soon!
So, as the jewel in social welfare turns 70, my birthday message to the National Health Service is:
“As a Kent County Councillor I will continue to scrutinise carefully the decisions made, to ask questions and to defend this most valuable public service”.