Welsh trade unionist chairs NHS event at UNISON annual conference


UNISON member and Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board healthcare worker Jan Tomlinson is to chair a fringe event at the union’s annual conference in Brighton today (Tuesday).

She will be joined by shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth MP and Guardian columnist Owen Jones in a debate on the future of health services.

The Save our NHS! fringe event comes after days of intense focus on public service health workers following last week’s election result.

Jan Tomlinson said: “This is a critical time for the NHS. It is under unprecedented pressure and people want answers from politicians on why it is not properly funded and managed.

“Hospital porters, administrators, nurses and doctors know government spending cuts have placed social care in crisis, which has had serious repercussions for the NHS.

“We’re asking more and more of our NHS and its staff, and yet Conservative ministers have blocked public sector workers from having a proper pay rise since 2011. We feel completely undervalued and demoralised.

“Around ten per cent of NHS staff are from other European countries. The aggressive talk of the UK government on Brexit and immigration has them very worried that they will be forced to leave these shores. We need assurances the NHS is not heading off a cliff under Brexit.

“Despite working under the pressure of reduced spending, the Welsh Labour government has shown there is a different path. There’s no privatisation or internal market here. Our doctors didn’t go on strike and we haven’t abolished nurses training bursaries.”


Notes to editors

  • Jan Tomlinson is the chair of UNISON Cymru/Wales’ health committee of lay members.
  • The Save our NHS! fringe is on Tuesday night at 5.15pm at the Restaurant, Third Floor, Brighton Centre.


Alastair Gittins, UNISON Press Officer on 07816 538397


Photo: Natasha Hirst