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Unions claim 'united front' against health bill

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Health unions have described their opposition to the health bill as an “unprecedented united front”, following a hardening of opinion by the royal colleges of nursing and midwives.

The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives today announced today they completely opposed the bill, saying their previous attempts to raise concerns about parts of the legislation had not been addressed.

Other major health unions welcomed the hardening of stance against the health bill, which was first laid before parliament exactly 12 months ago on 19 January.

Unite’s head of health Rachael Maskell said: “The unions representing nurses and midwives have joined others, such as Unite, in stating their ‘outright opposition’ to the government’s NHS plans for England.

“On this first anniversary, we call on [health secretary] Andrew Lansley to scrap the bill which has brought together health professionals in an unprecedented united front.”

She added: “Doctors and now nurses and midwives have now joined all the other professionals – pharmacists, scientists, health visitors, hospital chaplains, and speech and language therapists – in opposing the bill.”

Unison’s head of health Christina McAnea said: “We welcome the RCN and RCM’s opposition of the health bill. We have been campaigning for this deadweight bill to be dropped since its launch and this support can only strengthen our campaign.

“Nurses, midwives, professional bodies and patients are all warning that this Bill is a danger to the NHS as we know it,” she said.

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