Swindon Trades Union Council Media Release 6th August 2007
Swindon Trades Union Council is calling for a genuine consultation over the proposal of the Swindon & Marlborough NHS Trust to move to Foundation Status. The so-called consultation which has been launched by the Trust is a bogus one. It has specifically excluded any discussion on Foundation Status itself, wanting to restrict debate to the detail of becoming one, and the name. Indeed the feedback form excludes respondents from indicating whether they agree with or oppose it becoming a Foundation Trust.
Swindon TUC Secretary Martin Wicks says:
“Staff and local service users should surely have the opportunity to debate the implications of Foundation status. Yet the Trust is merely going through the motions of a ‘consultation’. They want to exclude respondents from opposing their proposal.
Foundation status is part of the government’s introduction of a competitive market in which free standing Trusts compete with each other and private companies for patients. Monitor, th regulator which is in charge of Foundation Trusts has made it clear that they should concentrate on profit-making work, in order to build up surpluses. They are expected to behave “like any other business”.
Already around £1 billion has been squeezed out of the NHS by these organisations.
The government is handing over public property to them allowing them to keep the proceeds from the selling off of assets.
The government is destroying the NHS as a national service. They are putting profit-making above the interests of the health of the population. That is why Swindon TUC, together with the health service unions are opposed to Foundation Status. It can only to lead to inequalities in health care from one part of the country to another.
Staff will be wary because the Trust has refused to commit itself to maintaining NHS wages and conditions of service. What other conclusion can they draw than the Trust will be looking to cut their wage bill in order to make a ‘surplus’ which they can keep.”
Swindon TUC has produced a briefing on Foundation Status which can be read or downloaded from its web site at: https://swindontuc.wordpress.com/2007/08/01/foundation-status-behaving-like-any-other-business/
For further comment contact Martin Wicks on 07786 394593