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Updated 19/05 09:22 - Help us save the NHS Blood and Transplant service

It's hard to believe, but this government wants to sell off parts of the NHS blood service.

UNISON is against privatising any more of our health services, but this is an issue I feel really strongly about. When I was seriously ill, my life was saved by transfusions from blood donated freely by ordinary people.

Many of you will have family members who have benefited from this unique service. Many of you will be blood donors yourselves.

Now the government is planning to privatise key parts of the service responsible for transporting, processing and testing blood. Allowing private companies to make a profit from the blood and organs donated freely by the public is just wrong and we can't let it happen.

The blood service is a fantastic example of how our community supports each other - donors, the public, NHS staff and patients. Not for profit or personal gain, but so that desperately ill people get the blood they need, when they need it.

Will people feel the same about a service that is providing a profit for a private company? Will donors want to give blood if someone else makes money from their gesture?

I'm asking you to help us save the blood and transplant service by putting pressure on the government to think again.

You can email your MP telling them your concerns about the privatisation of the blood service, and asking them not to support the proposals.

Email your MP - NOW!

Updated 16/05 15:10 - 38 Degrees Petition...

38 Degrees Logo

Nick Clegg
This Friday Geraldine, a 38 Degrees member from Sheffield, is delivering a copy of the Save our NHS petition to her local MP – Nick Clegg.

We need to make sure she can hand him the biggest petition he's ever seen! Can you help by forwarding her message and asking your friends to sign today?

Sign The Petition Now

Dear Steve,

My name is Geraldine and like you I'm part of 38 Degrees. I live in Sheffield. This Friday, I am going to deliver a copy of the Save Our NHS petition to my local MP – Nick Clegg.

In the next few weeks, Nick Clegg has to decide whether or not to dig his heels in to block dangerous changes to the NHS. This is our chance to put pressure directly on him.

I want to show Nick Clegg that there are hundreds of thousands of people standing behind me, urging him to stand up for the NHS. Can you help by getting more names on the petition?

Please forward this email to your friends and ask them to sign the petition. They can sign here:

Like for so many of us, the NHS is very important to me. I have a type of epilepsy that means I could have a seizure at any moment. Thanks to the care and professionalism of NHS staff, I live an active and happy life.

On Friday, I'm going to tell Nick Clegg my story, and explain that I'm scared because Andrew Lansley's plans will destroy the NHS. We never know when we might get ill. But we all know that countless families and lives depend on the NHS every day. We need to protect a health service that delivers the best healthcare to everyone, for free, whenever we need it.

So many doctors, nurses, and health charities are warning that Lansley's NHS plan could mean the end of the NHS as we know it. Just this week GPs warned that Lansley's plan would mean we're "moving headlong" towards a more US-style health system based on "an insurance-type model".

I'll tell Nick Clegg it's time to listen to these real experts and stop Andrew Lansley rushing through massive, untested, changes.

My local printers will print all our comments and signatures at Friday lunchtime. Then on Friday afternoon we'll present the massive petition. Please ask your friends to add their names in time: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-nhs

I know that if enough of us work together, we can stop these dangerous NHS plans. In the last few months we stopped government plans to sell off our forests. We persuaded them to sign up to Europe-wide plans to tackle human trafficking. And we stopped the country's first US-style mega-dairy being built in Lincolnshire.

An amazing 300,000 of us have signed the Save our NHS petition so far. This is our chance to send Nick Clegg a clear message and push him to stand up for the NHS.

If enough of us join in, I know we can protect the NHS for future generations. Please forward this e-mail and ask your friends to sign: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/save-our-nhs

If you use Facebook you could also share the petition on your profile:

If you are on Twitter you could also send a tweet:

Thank you,

Geraldine O'Connor, 38 Degrees member

PS: I am one of hundreds of 38 Degrees members who have volunteered to deliver a copy of our petition to their local MP. We need to aim to deliver a copy of the petition to every single MP in the country. If you could help by arranging to deliver it to your local MP, you can find out more information and put your name down here: http://www.38degrees.org.uk/nhs-mp-visits

Here are some good articles about the NHS plans:
A list of some of the groups who are worried about the NHS plans: http://38degrees.org.uk/pages/save-our-nhs-who-is-worried
Guardian: NHS to lose 50,000 jobs, including doctors and nurses http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/feb/23/nhs-to-lose-50000-jobs
Guardian: NHS reform is a 'slash-and-burn approach', says doctors' union http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/oct/01/nhs-reform-slash-burn-bma
BBC: Health unions query speed of government NHS reforms http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11463625
Guardian: Health chiefs issue stark warning over damaging effect of NHS reforms http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jan/15/nhs-confederation-attacks-reform-plans
The Mirror: Warning over 'damaging' NHS reforms http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/latest/2010/10/01/warning-over-damaging-nhs-reforms-115875-22599689/
BBC: NHS job cuts could endanger lives, says nurses' leader http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12080056
Sky News: Lib Dem Revolt Over NHS Cuts Govt Majority http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/Politics/Lib-Dems-Labour-Challenges-Liberal-Democrats-To-Speak-Oout-Against-Tory-Led-NHS-Reforms/Article/201002215988051?
BBC: Government fights off Labour challenge to NHS plans http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-13329031



Updated 05/04 17:10 - Update from the March

Dear Members,

Over ten members from this branch participated in the March, carrying the LeedsMet Unison banner the two and bit hours to Hyde Park.  We got there in time for the speeches from Ed Miliband and Dave Prentis, at which point it started raining (it was bound to happen!). While the event itself was very well organised, Hyde Park had far too few amenities to cope with the numbers that turned out, so we decided to head back towards King’s Cross to have a bite to eat and to be near the station for the return leg of our journey. Some of the group were also hoping to catch a thrilling England game – but by the time we sat down the game was all over at 2-0 to England (and we were still in the first half).

Walking back to King’s Cross I overheard members of the public expressing their un-happiness with the ‘bloody protesters’ and one Scottish football supporter described us as a ‘set of flag waving …..’ . I asked the young(ish) man in question whether he knew that 5% of the Scottish employed population were at risk of losing their jobs due to the cuts? And his reply was – ‘I don’t care’. While some may feel it a little strong; I find this level of ignorance quite bewildering, and to be honest, this makes me more concerned for our odds of winning the battle ahead.

While on the March I saw the working class of Briton, yes there were many office workers (of which I am one), but equally there were those that I feel are recognised for giving a little more – Ambulance, Fire, Police, Street Cleansers, Carers and those who support the vulnerable in our big society (the old, young, those who have lost their way and the disabled), to mention but a few. To me it would seem that many members of the public, not directly affected, are missing the detail and accepting the headline propergander at face value (too many over-paid, under-worked pen pushers earning a gold plated pension).

After the March I heard a radio news report where Vince Cable (MP Lib Dem) said that this government was the strongest in years and that even if, the top end estimate of half a million protestors being reported was correct, that policy would not be changed. This isn’t strength but defiance and arrogance and not what I would have expected from Mr Cable, but then they do say that power corrupts. I do believe that an alternative exists, one with easing that looks at efficiencies and possibly reduced hours – rather than compulsory redundancy as a starting point. I also believe that alternatives exist for Education that would not see such a high level of debt being placed upon our future generations. Finally, I am personally outraged that the Government can change my pension Terms and Conditions with absolutely no consultation. With anyone. Implementing a 50% contribution increase to a pension scheme that was deemed as fit for the future after the revisions made in 2006! RBS and Bradford and Bingley have seen a return to profit, where is there 50% increase in contribution to the public purse?

It was a great day with great support (in the main) but from some of the encounters I had, it shows that we have lots to do, so that those in the private sector have a more accurate account in which to base there judgement.

The Union is our only direct voice to our Employer and to the Government and while I sometimes question the direction and level of progress being made – overall I am happy to pay my subs (knowing that any big machine takes time to move and change direction). While I don’t need to preach to the converted, I would ask that you speak to any none UNISON  member colleagues and let them know of the changes the Government are making and the projected impact these changes will have. Numbers will help us win the fight, both locally and nationally, and now is the time to be converted.

Peter Cochrane, Publicity Officer

Dear Members,

I also attended the march on the 26th of March and was amazed at the support that came from all corners of the United Kingdom. We got to the Leeds Train Station at 6.30 am the station was packed with people carrying banners and flags and a real buzz of excitement. We got to Kings Cross just after 9.00 and even there well-wishers presented themselves not least Anna Ford (news reader) who came and spoken to me and a colleague about the Peace March of 1958 and wishing us well for the day. On reaching the Embankment it was a carnival feeling of Purple and Green as the area as far as I could see in both directions was filled with UNISON flags, giant balloons, hats, banners, and T-shirts. We got the Leedsmet Banner out and up,  and straight away people came up taking photos of it to mark another Branch in attendance. We then got kitted out in T-shirts, hats given to us and waited excitedly for the start. The noise of vuvuzelas, whistles, drums, and horns was deafening. The march itself was steady and rather longer than I expected but carrying our banner in this march with Mark was a very proud moment for me. The Police were great, the public clapping and cheering us on were great! It was amazing how many families, children, and people old and young there were. A very special day that I will never forget, but as many have already said, and with the great speech that our own Branch Young Members Officer Holly Prosho gave at the UNISON HE Education Conference this is only one day and we need to continue on the 27th, 28th and onwards to fight for our Jobs, Pensions, Pay and conditions! All I would say,  it is time to stand up and be counted. Do not believe people if that say it will not change anything it can if enough people raise their voices and protest peacefully!

James Appleby
Environmental and International Officer



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