Delegates passed a motion condemning a recent suggestion by the Department of Health that commissioners should regard decommissioning NHS services as a success.
Decommissioning happens when the commissioning arms of PCTs cease to use their NHS provider arms, and commission services from third parties such as foundation trusts or social enterprise schemes.
The UNISON motion argued that change is often necessary but said that large scale decommissioning of public services was unsustainable and would damage services. It called on the union’s health group executive to call on the DH to abandon the policy.
Karen Reissmann, from Manchester Community Mental Health branch, said: ‘It is an absolute disgrace. It will ruin services.’
She argued that the current recession demonstrated how damaging the introduction of a market economy into the NHS could be.
‘They have bailed out the banks, now they are to bail them out some more. The directors of banks are doing very well. The market is not the solution.’