The CSP has urged unions to step up campaigning for an urgent funding boost to the NHS and social care services.
Speaking to the CSP motion at TUC Congress 2019 in Brighton, delegate Jill Taylor said the government needs to back up promises to tackle staff shortages with funding, and invest in training, 'crumbling' buildings, equipment and public health services.
Ms Taylor told fellow delegates she was proud to be a physiotherapist and proud to be working for the NHS, but was ‘pained’ to see negative impact of underfunding on patient services.
Emphasising the false economy of failing to invest in the NHS, she said: ‘We can and must invest in transforming services to ensure everybody living in Britain can lead active, dignified, healthy lives right into their old age. Yet today we are barely keeping the lights on.
'There’s no excuse. We are a very rich country and we can afford quality public services that enable everybody to maximise their potential whatever their age, social background or walk of life.'
The motion, which called for the ‘scandal’ of social care to be addressed by aligning its funding model in line with that of the NHS, was seconded and amended by the midwives’ union, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
Maternity care charges
The CSP further seconded a RCM motion calling for the suspension of charging for NHS maternity care for migrant women, during pregnancy and childbirth.
CSP delegate Rob Davies said that 'vulnerable women should not be the scapegoats for the government’s continued failure to properly fund our NHS” and that “a mother and her baby’s life are more important than aggressively pursuing money from the poorest and most vulnerable in society'.
Perinatal mental health
The CSP also spoke in support of another motion from the RCM calling for the government to honour promises to invest in services to tackle perinatal mental health problems.
Ms Taylor said: 'If left untreated they can and do have long lasting effects on both the mother and the whole family' with 'evidence of long standing effects on children’s emotional, social and cogitative development'. Yet today there was 'a postcode lottery in service availability.'
Funding mental health services
The theme of mental health was further debated in another motion calling on the Government to address the funding crisis in mental health services and deliver real parity of esteem between mental and physical health. It also called for a legal duty on employers to measure the impact of the workplace on their staff’s mental health - and act upon the findings.
Speaking in support of the motion brought by retail workers’ union Usdaw, Rob Davies highlighted the shocking facts that over 500 people took their lives last year and that suicide was the second leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds with 25 attempted suicides for every suicide.
'Suicides are not inevitable, they are preventable,' he told delegates.
Criticising cuts to mental health budgets in recent years, Mr Davies said there was a “mental health crisis in the NHS and also in wider society” and that “the current situation was not sustainable”.
All four motions were passed unanimously.
TUC Congress is the annual policy-making conference of the British trade union movement.
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