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Constitution 'smokescreen'.

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Unite has warned that the new NHS Constitution should not be used as a 'smokescreen' for more privatisation in the health service.

While welcoming steps to make the NHS more accountable to patients and clients, Unite national officer for health David Fleming stated: 'The NHS Constitution is a "top-down" document, but it needs the speech and language therapist, the lab technician, the health visitor, the ambulance personnel and the maintenance staff to be consulted fully on how it can best be implemented.'

He added: 'Unite remains wary about the government's continued obsession with privatisation of the NHS and we would not like the fine words and elegant phrases embedded in the constitution to be used as a smokescreen for private companies to take a larger slice of NHS services.'

Signed by prime minister Gordon Brown, health secretary Alan Johnson and NHS chief executive David Nicholson at the end of January, the Department of Health said the constitution cost 'just under 1million' [pounds sterling] to produce from inception to launch, which Unite calculated would employ 30 more health visitors for a year.
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Publication:Community Practitioner
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 1, 2009
Words:183
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