Nearly 90 per cent of Unite health sector members have 'no confidence' in the coalition's handling of the NHS 'reforms', a new survey has revealed.

The massive vote of 'no confidence' from Unite - which has 100,000 members in the health service - comes as the coalition's 'listening exercise' on the Health and Social Care Bill draws to a close.

The snapshot survey of specified professional groups represented by Unite also revealed that two-thirds said that they had seen the treatment and care of patients/service users reduced or rationed in the last six months.

Unite Head of Health, Rachael Maskell said: 'Those working in the NHS have no confidence that the universal service that they have dedicated their working lives to is safe in Tory hands - they fear that it is going to be privatised and broken up for the benefit of profiteering private healthcare companies. No matter how it is dressed up.'

'This survey confirms what we have been saying for the last year - that services are already being cut or rationed as a result of the government's twin-pronged approach of planning to privatise the NHS and enforcing £20bn of so-called 'efficiency savings' over the next four years.'

'The coalition has called for 'a pause' in the bill's progress while it considers the views of interested parties - it needs to draw the conclusion that this is a flawed bill that needs to be scrapped.'

'It is 'back to the drawing board' time - Unite has proposed that a Royal Commission is set-up to investigate the future demands on and available resources for the NHS.'

The survey of 677 members ended this week. The professional groups surveyed were: allied health professionals; applied psychology, counselling and psychotherapy; Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association; Society of Sexual Health Advisors; and speech and language therapy.

Shaun Noble
Unite communications