Monday, December 18, 2006

COMMON WEALTH AND THE BEVERIDGE REPORT


COMMON WEALTH AND THE BEVERIDGE REPORT

Principles of the Report-

IN deciding what attitude should be adopted towards the Beveridge Report, a sharp distinction, must be drawn between the principles on which the Report rests .and the details which it contains. The main principles of the Report are that the State should accept full responsibility for seeing that no citizen falls below a minimum standard of living; and that every citizen who cannot be found work, either for general economic reasons or because he is too old or too young or is disabled, must be provided for. Common Wealth, of course, supports those principles.

The Beveridge Report is a great step forward towards the recognition that men and women, just because they are men and women, have the right to a decent life.

Why the Report should be adopted.

Common Wealth maintains that the Report should be adopted for the following reasons:—

(a) Because it is morally right that all men and women who through no fault of their own are unable to work, or are otherwise in need, should be provided for by the rest of the community.

(b) Because national unity depends upon its acceptance: the vast majority of the nation want to see the Report carried into effect.

(c) Because the adoption of the Beveridge Plan will prove to the world at large that Britain intends to carry out the Atlantic Charter. If there is sabotage or undue delay in carrying out the guarantee of two words of the Charter—social security—men will naturally become cynical about the whole document. The adoption of the Plan will show that Britain is virile enough to take her lull share in the building of a better world.

(d) Because it will add power and speed to the war effort if the fighters are given something to fight for, and the workers something to work for. The Plan is in itself only a token of the world they want, but it will serve to show them that they are not coming back to the tragic conditions which followed the last war.

(e) Because the Plan gets rid of the profit-motive in social insurance.

(f) Because the scheme set out in the Report is a rational simplification of the complicated and wasteful machinery now in existence.

(g) Because the Report is a step towards the sort of new society that the people want.

Why the Beveridge Plan in itself is not enough.

At the same time we must never lose sight of the fact that the Beveridge Plan, even it fully carried out, is a step forward only in a limited field and that by itself it raises none of the fundamental political, social, and economic issues facing Britain and, indeed, the whole world.

We must therefore firmly resist the propaganda which suggests that the Beveridge Plan is in any way an alternative to the basic re-organisation of Britain’s social and economic life for which Common Wealth stands. The Beveridge Plan is a necessary part of vita] democracy and common ownership, although in the long run a socialist community would go considerably beyond it; but vital democracy and common ownership are together far wider and bigger issues than the Beveridge Plan.

We must, then, while fighting for the Plan, nevertheless be on our guard against the suggestion that the Plan is the last word in social reform. Beveridge himself says that he was asked only to solve the least difficult of Britain’s reconstruction problems. The Plan is a beginning, not an end: it is a basis for further democratic advance, but it is not a revolution.

This caution is necessary since it is quite possible that the present Government, or some reactionary grouping of the future, may use the Plan as a trap. They may try to represent the Beveridge Report as the last word in social reform, an anteroom to Paradise. They will explain to the worker that, if he wants the Beveridge Plan, he must be prepared to pay for it by working hard and long on low wages, by accepting all sorts of disciplines and regimentations in the interests of “maximum production” and the “export drive”. They will offer all sorts of things, provided that Big business is not forced, to surrender a single iota of its economic power; and they will then use those « reforms « as a means of black-mailing people into accepting a, Corporate State. We must all the time keep uppermost in our minds that fact that, while the Plan is good in itself and must be won for the people because of the principles it embodies, yet it may be twisted in such a way as to assist the creation of a British Fascist State.

Common Wealth therefore urges the people of Britain not to walk into the reactionary trap: to welcome the Beveridge Plan as an important .top forward in one particular field of social policy, but to see to it that Britain, instead of taking one halting step forward, shall go. on advancing with seven-league boots towards vital democracy and common ownership, to the building of a people’s world.

Would the Plan work under Capitalism?

In theory the Plan could be applied without disturbing the capitalist order; Beveridge is not convinced that common .ownership is the necessary fundamental basis for a democratic economic reconstruction. But against this there are several important facts to show that, whereas the Plan might be made to work under Capitalism by conscripting labour, it, would work much more certainly and smoothly under a, system based on the common ownership of the great resources.

I—The Plan “assumes the maintenance of employment and theprevention of mass unemployment.” It requires that unemployment shall not much exceed 1,500,000, and the abolition of “unemployment prolonged year after year for the same individual.” Obviously any such social security measure cannot be financed if too many are drawing benefits from it. Common Wealth, however, is convinced that mass unemployment cannot ‘be avoided for more than a few years after the war at most, so long as the great resources of the country remain in private hands, except by applying Fascist compulsion to the workers. Common ownership is the only final remedy ‘against mass unemployment. Once all the resources of the country appear on a single balance sheet it is obvious that the country will keep all its workers employed. The establishment of common ownership would cut out all but residual unemployment, and would thus so reduce the ‘costs of administering the Plan that it would probably be possible to’ halve the period during which the pension rates are to mature. The Government speakers in the recent debate were sceptical as to how such a plan could be financed: and rightly so. The present system provides no cure for unemployment, and the capitalists consequently foresee great difficulties in financing the scheme.

II.—Capitalism has nothing but intimidation and compulsion to use as “an effective safeguard against the abuse of unemployment benefit “ (to quote Sir John Anderson). That is why the Government is afraid to accept the Beveridge recommendations concerning unemployment and disability benefit. These, the Government maintains, “will have to be of limited duration,” presumably giving place to public assistance subject to a means test. In fact Capitalism is so morally bankrupt that it has to fall back on the fear of destitution as the spur to induce men to work.

It is true that so long as the people have no sense of owning their- country, so long as they do. not feel production to be “their show, “ some abuse of any social security scheme must be expected. This is the inevitable response of the workers to the profit-snatching of the owners. But once the country really belongs to the people, and improved production means a genem.1 rise m the standard of living for all (or the building up of facilities in which all share), dodging work becomes a social crime which the workers themselves will unanimously condemn. Piece-rates will no longer be regarded as a whip, but as a stimulus. The experience of the Soviet Union amply proves this to be the case.

III.—Maximum production after the war will give us not only the means for working the Beveridge Plan, but for all the other, measures that should accompany it. Maximum production, however, cannot be attained after the drive of war has passed-though nothing less than maximum production will suffice in post-war Britain—so long as workers and management are perpetually quarrelling over wages, rates, hours and conditions. Common ownership will get rid of this wasteful friction, since every factory .land industry will become a joint enterprise run for maximum output by fully representative Joint Production Committees.

The Trade Unions, instead of having to squander much of their energies infighting the “bosses” on .behalf of the “workers,” will be able to devote their activity towards fulfilling the national production plan, while still protecting the interests of their members. An industry harmoniously run and highly productive will more than compensate for the changes in Britain’s economic position resulting from the war.

IV.—The Government spokesmen approved of Beveridge’s suggestions for compulsory training and his demand that labour must be kept fluid after the war. These, indeed, are essential conditions for an island such as ours, where resources of men and material may often have to be switched over from one industry to another, not only to meet our own internal needs, but in response to the changing demands of foreign countries.

But will not many workers be unwilling to change their jobs, especially if this means changing their place of residence, so long as the main reason for doing so, appears to. be that of benefiting the balance-sheets of private owners? It is only when they .see that the .transfer of their service is going to benefit the whole community that they will be willing to transfer, where necessary, and that compulsion will thus become unnecessary.

V.—The Government is afraid of accepting the Beveridge pension proposals because it is aware that the average age of the nation is constantly rising, and that when the number of pensioners relative to the number of workers has passed a certain point the cost of pensions will become unmanageable.

This increase in age is due to the fall in the birth-rate, and this in turn is due to our present economic system. While Capitalism was expanding the birth-rate rose; now that Capitalism is increasingly restrictive the rate is steadily falling. Allowances for children cannot cure this. Germany has tried ‘several forms of bribery to encourage an increase of population, but without success. The plain truth is that men and women will not bring children into a society which has lost its purpose and dynamic. This fatal decline can only be removed by the introduction of a new way of living based on common ownership and vital democracy. If the supply of workers is plentiful, pensions for the old will cease to be a cause for apprehension; indeed, Common Wealth believes that more generous rates than those suggested in the Report could then be given, and that no means test would be necessary in any circumstances.

Once again, the experience of the Soviet Union points the moral. There the increase of population is about three million annually.

The Government’s attitude to the Report.

The tragedy of the Government’s attitude to the Report, as it has been so far disclosed, is that the ‘scheme, as, the Government propose to amend it, would no longer be a real social security measure—in spite of Mr. Morrison’s claim that 70 per cent. of the Report is left intact. Sir Kingsley Wood spoke of “priorities.” Priority No. 1 in the Government mind is that private ownership shall not be touched. Not only the insurance companies, but “the position of the big voluntary hospitals must be safeguarded, “ and also the “ well-being and integrity of the medical profession.” The means test is to be retained for the unemployed and the disabled, industrial disability pensions (up to a maximum of £3 plus allowance for children) are declared to be “difficult to justify.” The essential principles of. adjusting benefit to the prevailing cost of living is brushed aside as “very difficult if not impracticable.” Children’s allowances are cut down to the extent of 1/6 per head per week (even if the Government’s promise of services worth 2/6 is carried into effect). The scheme for retirement pensions is so altered as to cancel the aim of the Report, that is,- of ultimately providing a genuine maintenance rate. In spite of Mr. Morrison’s assurances, in fact, what will be left, if these amendments are adopted, is something which the Government would have had to concede had the Report never .been written. Nothing is left to inspire men’; nothing to make man’s hopes of the future rise high; nothing to make the Report what it should have been: “a landmark not only in Britain but in the world. “

Sir William himself, writing in The Observer (February 28’th, 1943) has said: “My Plan takes as its aim abolition of Want. The Government in regard to pensions wholly, and in regard to children’s .allowances and to unemployment and disability benefit to a lesser extent, abandon that aim.”

And so—What ?

The reactionaries have opposed the Report for a number of reasons. Sir Kingsley Wood (who was the champion of the insurance companies against Lloyd George when he tried to establish a State funeral grant in 1911) slammed the door on it with some jubilation, as though welcoming the opportunity of rapping the knuckles of those who are daring to expect something better than the 1939 world after the war. Those whose particular vested interests were threatened opposed it for personal reasons; those who are afraid of yielding to any popular demand, in case it starts a landslide, opposed the Report on principle. Others again, although they do not ‘actually want men to go hungry and would like to put through a real social security measure in order to strengthen the position of the ruling group, are afraid to do so because they are beginning to see that if the plan is to be worked properly it will involve doing away with our present system and substituting common ownership—for every major objection that was raised in the debate falls to pieces once we start to think in terms of common ownership of the great resources and a national plan for production democratically drawn up and fulfilled.

Then what must be our attitude?

We must oppose any watering-down of the Plan, especially as it was drawn up to supply only minimum subsistence.

We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by the plea .that the Plan, even if adopted in full, is sufficient, and that Britain will then have done all that. is necessary to meet the needs of the post-war age.

We must work to bring about common ownership as the goal towards which the Report leads, and as the only order under which the proposals of the report can be put into effect smoothly, certainly, and democratically.

We must remember that the Report itself says: “Freedom from want cannot be forced on a democracy or given to a democracy. It must be won by them. Winning it needs courage and faith and a sense of national unity; courage to face facts and difficulties and overcome them; faith in our future and in the ideals of fair-play and freedom for which century after century our forefathers were prepared to die; a sense of national unity over-riding the interests of .any class or section."

We must fight for the whole Plan now as the first' step towards the sort of World the people want.

WE WON'T LET THEM SHELVE ST.

Approved by

The National Committee of Common Wealth Party,

19 June 1943;

Published By

C. W. Publishing, Ltd., 4 Gower Street, London, W.C.I; and

Printed By

J. B. Mackie & Co. Ltd., Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland

Monday, November 27, 2006

Judith Carter

Judith Carter

From the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, first published Friday 14th Feb 2003.

FAMILY legend has it that baby Judith Carter's first word was not Mummy, not even Daddy. It was "why"? And 59 years later, she is still asking why after one of the biggest disappointments in a hectic life full of challenges and setbacks.

For Judith, chief executive of Skipton and Craven Action for Disability (I shall explain the title later) has just received an extremely unwelcome kick in the teeth from people whose job in life, allegedly, is to do good.

Those fine people from the National Lottery Community Fund, which is sitting on hundreds of millions of unspent money, have refused SCAD a grant of more than £100,000 which would have gone to help hundreds of severely disabled people have an outing that otherwise would be beyond their dreams - a day's boating on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Yet SCAD already has a promise of £25,000 from Barclays Bank plus £9,000 its own members have collected - and could this spring be well on the way to replacing its ageing canal barge so that it can take more disabled people on more trips.

"I am absolutely gutted," Judith told me at SCAD's bustling offices over its charity shop in Newmarket Street. "This sort of money is just peanuts to the Lottery but they have rejected our bid because, they say, we have not established a need for the service.

"Yet disabled people have been coming from all over the North for 11 years to sail the canal. These bureaucrats should see the looks of sheer joy on our passengers' faces when they get onto the water - that would tell them that there is a need for this unique service."

I should warn Lottery officials that they have a fight on their hands.

For Judith Carter has spent her entire working life battling authority - and most of the time, she has won.

Born in Bradford during the war, one of twin sisters, she won a scholarship to grammar school and then was launched on what was to be a civil service career by her father, a GPO engineer.

She hated it and was looking for a new career when she met and married her soon-to-be long suffering husband David and quickly had two of their three children.

He was a Lancastrian whose family had a retail furniture business and she moved to East Lancashire, starting a War of the Roses which continues to this day (more of that later, too).

With her children at school, she found a new career in nursing in Burnley and suddenly came up against what she describes "as an absolutely nonsensical regime run on absolute, unquestioning discipline and fear."

She recalls: "Matron in those days was a tyrant. Doctors were gods. We had to do things which were never explained and often seemed quite wrong. So I began to ask why - and quickly got myself a reputation as a troublemaker.

"Other nurses began to ask me to take up complaints on their behalf so I thought I might as well join the union. By the time I left as organiser of the Burnley branch, it had 800 members."

The union was the Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE) and soon she was being pressed to take up a paid role - only to run into another wall of opposition: fellow officials who were all male. "I was looked upon as some sort of freak," she shrugs.

She got her paid job eventually - but at a huge cost. She was turned down as a regional organiser in the North West, on her doorstep, and was instead posted to London, where she worked, miserable and alone, whilst her family stayed in Barrowford.

Eventually, that became too much - "There were a lot of people who thought I would quit" - so after a year, David moved the family down south and they moved to Hampshire.

That had its problems, too. David got a job with the local ambulance brigade and ended up as a senior manager. Then came a strike by drivers, who Judith represented, and they ending up facing each other on opposite sides of the negotiating table!

Judith's career went from strength to strength and she ended up as a national organiser and negotiator, being invited for beer and sandwiches at 10 Downing Street. She even sat down to tea with the Queen.

However, when COHSE joined with two local government unions to form Unison, she decided enough was enough. David took early retirement and they decided to come back north. But where?

She laughs: "David wanted Lancashire but I was determined to return to my native Yorkshire. In the end, we bought a house in Tosside which is just in Craven - but when David walks to the pub, he crosses the border into Lancashire."

Both were determined to relax but it was David who got bored first. With his background, he was welcomed with open arms when he volunteered to drive one of SCAD's three minibuses.

Judith was intrigued so she joined too. She took the title chief executive last year when SCAD became a company for complex insurance reasons.

"There is so much red tape surrounding charities and we had discovered that our trustees, who are all volunteers, might face huge financial penalties, even lose their homes, if something went wrong. You cannot expect volunteers to take that sort of risk."

Red tape, too, is part of the reason for SCAD's need to replace their canal boat, the Marjorie Charlesworth, named after the association's late founder. To refurbish it to meet the latest safety standards would cost £30,000, which members felt was too much to spend on an 11-year-old craft.

Well, the bureaucrats want to scupper that plan too. They would rather have loss-making opera houses, millennium domes or bent bridges, it would appear. Methinks they are in for a shock when Judith Carter gets on the phone

Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas


Hillingdon Health Emergency Leaflet

Hayes Cottage Hospital will be open this Christmas, and every other Christmas

On the evening of Tuesday 25th October 1983 the staff at Hayes Cottage Hospital occupied in a bid to keep the hospital open. This action uas taken after a lot

of thought but it was clearly the only way to stop the closure after other avenues had been exhausted.

The reaction of the people of Hayes has been really magnificent. We have had visitors coming round with food, supplies and money. Messages of support have

been flooding in from all over London while a delegation from Charing Cross Hospital came over to see us. Ken Livingstone sent a message of congratulations saying 'This will be an example to other parts of the London Health Service faced with cuts in vital jobs and services. Best wishes for the struggle ahead.'

The best bit of news recently has been that the G.P's connected with the hospital are to start admitting patients again so we will be running just as before. Certainly, the patients in the Cottage Hospital are solidly behind the "work-in. Fifteen of them have signed a petition demanding the retention of the hospital and one patient has insisted that if any attempt is made to move her she intends to die in the ambulance......

Our aim in this struggle is to force the District Health Authority to take their proposals for cuts out to full public consultation. We believe that the people of Hillingdon have a right to a say in the sort of Health Service that is provided instead of a totally undemocratic and unaccountable group of individuals dictating from on high.

We believe that we are going to win the battle for Hayes Cottage Hospital but to do so we need the help of the ordinary people of Hayes. WE NEED MORE PEOPLE TO GUARD THE GATES, DAY AND NIGHT. We also need letters going to the DHA demanding that no violence will be used and that patients will not be forcibly removed against their will. This is a real possibility and it must not be allowed.

Hayes Cottage Hospital is an integral part of the community in this area. It provides a type and a quality of care that is not available at a big unit like Hillingdon. Closing our hospital will mean that many old people and parents will have long journeys if they need medical treatment. These cuts are going
to hit most those people that need the IMHS while the people With the money Will have their own private care. THIS MUST NOT BE ALLOLWED. The NHS Was set up through the struggle and toil of our older folk and we pay for it through our taxes. In any civilised society decent health care should be a right not left to charity.

HELP US DEFEND THE HEALTH SERVICE. HELP US SAVE HAYES COTTAGE HOSPITAL.

The Hillingdon Health Emergency Campaign had a spontaneous beginning. Members of the public had attended a meeting of the Regional Health Authority on 27th September 1983. At that meeting, the proposed cuts in Health spending ware announced - including the proposed closure of the two Cottage Hospitals
Hayes and Northwood and Pinner.

There were immediate protests from the public gallery and four people were ejected from the meeting. Later an impromptu meeting of the protesters took place in the Civic Centre electing a committee which immediately went into action to arouse public opinion and protest against the cuts.

Leaflets were produced; public meetings held; petition forms distributed, resulting in thousands of signatures. Letters were written to the press, M.P.'s, Councillors and other public figures inviting their support.

Trade union branches were heavily involved and asked to support, both financially and physically. To date, nearly £1000 has been raised. The support received from the public has given a great boost to the campaign, which stepped up its supporting activity following the decision by the Staff to occupy the two threatened hospitals.

It is the policy of the Committee that the campaign against Health service cuts will continue, whatever the outcome at Hayes and Northwood. They therefore continue to ask for public support and feel sure that it will be forthcoming.

Hilllngdon needs its Health Service. Support the Campaign.

Hillingdon Health Emergency (GLC Funded) 2a Botwell Lane, Hayes, Middx

Steve Clare Secretary Hillingdon Health Emergency:

Marjorie Bayne NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steward (blonde-right in photo)
Sylvia Tebbenham NUPE Hayes Cottage Hospital Steard (Left in photo)

Supported by unions at EMI, KODAK, Express Dairy (TGWU), NALGO,NUPE, AUEW and Tenants & Pensioners Groups

COHSE & Labour 1987


COHSE Hillingdon & District branch General Election leaflet circa 1987




The Conservative Government have since 1979 systematically attacked and undermined Hillingdon's health services, recently a further three hospital -wards and a clinic were closed by Hillingdon District Health Authority.



Since 1979 the effect of this policy in Hillingdon has been:

Over 300 hundred hospital closed

Uxbridge Cottage Hospital closed

St. Johns Hospital closed

7,656 patients on the waiting list

Furthermore, only a determined 'work-in' by hospital staff and the support of the community saved Hayes Cottage and Northwood & Pinner Cottage Hospitas from closure.

Health workers now believe that only the Labour Party cares, and is fully committed to the future of our health services, after all it was the Labour who established the in 1946.

We therefore urge all caring people to support the Labour Party's campaign to save our health service - if the Tories are re-elected with Edwina. Currie as for Health, the future would be very bleak for the health service user. There would be more health cuts, more privatisation and the gradual dismantling of the NHS.



Published by M.Walker COHSE Branch Secretary

Printed by Hillpress 11, Clayton Road, Hayes

Sunday, November 26, 2006

St Helier 25 Nov 2006

St Helier Hospital



Over 2,000 people marched in the rain to save St Helier Hospital, Sutton on Saturday 25th November 2006 including this group of well known individuals (lef
t).








2006-2007 marked a period of major opposition to hospital cuts and closures.

the starting date being the North Staffordshire Rally on 29th April 2006.


The NHS Unions through "NHS Together" organised a lobby of Parliament on 1st November 2006, a national regional day of action on 3rd March 2007 and a National demonstration on 3 November 2007




Friday, November 17, 2006

Black Nurses 1983 CRE


Commission For Racial Equality 1983 Report

NURSING STAFF

There are about 490,000 nurses and midwives in the NHS. A study of overseas nurses in Britain in 1972 showed that an average of 9% of all National Health Service hospital nurses in 1971 were 'immigrant', ie born in a 'developing' country and arriving in the UK after the age of 16.

'Immigrants' formed 20% of pupil nurses, 15% of midwives and 14% of student nurses. At sister and senior level, however, proportions of 'immigrant' staff dropped to 4% and 1%.
Department of Health (DHSS) statistics of student and pupil nurses and pupil midwives in training in National Health Service hospitals in England and Wales (at 31 December 1978) showed that about 9% of these trainees were from Commonwealth countries. These statistics showed that Commonwealth born student nurses formed about 5% of all student nurses and pupil nurses, while Commonwealth pupil midwives formed about 18% of their group. However, these averages conceal significant variations in some areas. The study mentioned above showed, for example, that in the North East Thames Region, 16% of pupil nurses were born in overseas Commonwealth countries compared with 1.5% in Yorkshire Regional Health Authority.

There is now a higher proportion of trained overseas-born nurses than there are overseas-born nurses in training, which may be a result of the advice of the DHSS in recent years which has discouraged recruitment of students and pupils in their countries of origin

Training opportunities for nurses

There are claims that black nurses are pressured into undertaking SEN courses, even when they have sufficient academic qualifications for an SRN course. A recent example of such allegations appeared in the Nursing Times, which quoted a 1979 survey of 365 overseas learners of whom half said that their
UK gained qualification would not be recognised in their home countries.

In a recent study undertaken by the Polytechnic of North London, Migrant
Workers in the National Health Service, it was found that Irish nurses were
more likely to have reached the grades of Ward Sister, Nursing Officer or Senior Nursing Officer than their English counterparts (35% compared with 20%), whereas the West Indian nurses were less likely, with only 10% in those grades. Wider research could show how representative this report is, but it clearly demonstrates the need to examine the possibility that direct and indirect discrimination may be occurring.


CRE
COHSE

RCN & HCA's

When is a nurses not a health worker

"Nurses cannot be treated like other healthcare workers, because we aren't like other healthcare workers.

This is the Royal College of Nursing.
It isn't, and never will be, the Royal College of Health Workers

RCN President Betty Kershaw
launching the RCN;s health manifesto
Nursing Standard 8th May 1996

NOTE

Similar statement re HCA's made when UNISON produced a UNISON HCA Nurse badge

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Canadian Nurses WW1


Canadian Nurses who died WW1

46 of the 3,000 women who served as "nursing sisters" in the Canadian Army Medical Corps lost their lives during the war. Of info available, six were killed or mortally wounded (of which three died in the deliberate bombing of the military hospital in √Čtaples, France); 15 died at sea, with the sinking of the hospital ship, Llandovery Castle; 15 died of disease; and seven died later in Canada



AN IMPRESSlVE CEREMONY 1920.

Short, simple and deeply impressive was the ceremony, says The Canadian Nurse, which took place in the wide corridor just outside the Legislative Chamber of the Parliament Buildings, Toronto, when the memorial tablet to the memory of the nurses of the Ontario Military Hospital, Orpington, Kent, England, who gave their lives during the war, was unveiled by Major Margaret C. MacDonald, R.R.C. Matron-in-Chief of the Canadian overseas military forces
.



Family and many persons of note attended the ceremony. Present for the occasion were the near relatives of the heroines whose names appear on the tablet :

Nursing Sister Mary McKenzie,
formerly of Toronto, who was drowned in the sinking by the enemy of the hospital ship Llandovery Castle;


Nursing Sister S. E. Garbutt,
who went overseas for service in June, 1917(?), and died of cancer the following (20th August 1917);


Nursing Sister M. Lowe,
Of Binscarth, Manitoba, who was killed during the bombing outrages at Etaples in May, 1918 ; (28th May 1918)


Nursing Sister D. H. Baldwin,
who died as a result of wounds received during the enemy raids at. Doulens, France, in May, 1918 ; (30th May 1918)


Nursing Sister M. E. Greene,
who died of double pneumonia, at No. 24 British General Hospital, Etaples, France, in October, 1918. (9th October 1918)

Hon. Dr. H. J. Cody, former Minister of Education, read the memorial service and dedicated the tablet, erected by the matron and nursing sisters of the Orpington (Canadian) Hospital unit.

May 29 1920 British Nursing Journal

ROLL OF HONOUR NURSES CANADA WORLD WAR ONE

CANADIAN ARMY MEDICAL CORPS

Alpaugh. A
Baker. M. E
Baker. M. E
Bolton
. G. E.
Campbell
. C.
Champagne
. E.
Cumming. I.
Dagg. A. St. C.
Donaldson. G.
Douglas
. C. J.
Dussault. A.
Follette. M. A.
Forneri. A. F.
Fortescue. M. J.
Fraser. M. M.
Frederickson. C.
Gallaher. M. K.
Grant.G. M.
Herman .V. B.
Henshaw. I.
Hunt. M.
Jaggard. J. B.
Jarvis. J.
Jenner. L. M.
Kealy. I. L.
King. J. N.
MacIntosh. R.
MacLeod. M.
McDiarmid .J. M.
McDougall .A.
McEachen. R.
McGinnis. M. G.
McKay. E. V.
McKenzie. M. A.
McLean
. R. M.
Mellett. H.
Munro. M. F. E
Roberts. J.
Rogers
. N. G.
Ross. A. J.
Ross E. G.
Sampson. M. B.
Sare. G. I.
Sparks. E.
Stamers. A. I.
Templeman. J.
Trusdale. A.
Tupper. A. A.

CANADIAN ARMY NURSING SERVICE

Baldwin. G (30 May 1918) wounds
Davis
. L.A (21 February 1918) K/N
Garbutt S. E (20 August 1917) K/N
Green. M (9 October 1918) Disease
Lowe. M (28 May 1918) wounds
MacDonald. K.M. (19 May 1918) wounds
MacPherson. A (30 May 1918) wounds
Pringle. E.L (30 May 1918) wounds
Wake G. M.M (21 May 1918) wounds
Whitely. A (21 April 1918) wounds


For a superb account of nurses in WW1 read "It's a long way to Tipperary " (British & Irish nurses in the Great War) by Yvonne McEwen


Michael Walker

UNISON The Nursing Union - London

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A State Medical Service 1920

A State Medical Service

A booklet by Mr D.T. Jenkins, FFI, FFS and Mr J.A. Newrick of the Association of Approved Societies, 76-78 Swinton Street, Gray's Inn Road, London

called for a State Medical Service in order that

"As a measure to prevent and cure ill health as the National Insurance Acts have failed"

Irish Nurses Union 1920

Irish Nurses Union

Honary Secretary: Miss Carson Rae

President: Miss E. Hazlett (Richmond)
Vice President: Miss Carre

Executive Miss, Huxley, Thornton, O'Flynn, Burkett, Haire, Reeves, Hughes, Keating, Haverly, Rhind, Blackmore, Downie, Bradburne, Crowther, Harrison, Chisholm, Harrison, Chisholm, McKinley, McGinley, Drew and Mrs Manning

Miss E Hazlett
Trained at Richmond, Whitworth and Hardwicke hospital, appointed Assistant Matron in 1912 and appointed Matron Richmond Hospital, Dublin 1918


NOTE
Later Irish Nurses Organisation

Nurses 8hr Day Dublin - 1920


NURSES EIGHT HOURS’ DAY IN DUBLIN.


The Corporation of Dublin, which makes grants to various hospitals in the city, has decided to make such grants conditional upon the establishment of an eight hours’day for nurses.


source
British Nursing Journal - 15th May 1920

BNA - Banner 1920


April 24, 1920
Royal British Nurses’ Association.
(Incorporated by Royal Charter)

THE BANNER OF THE
ROYAL BRITISH NURSES’ ASSOCIATION.

The Banner of the Royal British
Nurses’ Association has now reached the Office from the Royal School of Art Needlework, at which it has been embroidered.

As will be remembered, a small group of the younger members formed themselvesinto a committee on the passage of the
Nurse Registration Bill (1920) and decided to inaugurate a scheme to supply their Association with a Banner as a memento of this victory for the nurses.

They and all the members who have so generously co-operated with them may congratulate themselves upon having supplied their Royal Corporation with a Banner of which it has just reason to be proud and which doubtless will be regarded as one of its most treasured possessions for centuries to come, But particularly do we owe an expression of warm gratitude to Miss Grace An
derson, M.R.B.N.A., who has done practically all the work connected with the banner so far as the R.B.N.A. office is concerned.

The Banner is embroidered most exquisitely on bleu de silk, with the Badge of the Association- in rose colour on cloth of gold. The date of the foundation of the Association, ‘1887,” is inscribed over the Badge, and the motto, “ Steadfast and True,” on a gold scroll beneath it, ‘The Royal Crow in colours appears in the centre of the Badge, and the national flowers-the rose, thistle, shamrock, and leek-support it, beautifully embroidered in sahral colours. Altogether a most lovely Banner for our Royal Corporation of Nurses

NOTE

The BNA was hostile to the (Royal) College of Nursing and supported the Profesional Union of Trained Nurses

RCN - Dont Join a union

BRITISH NURSING JOURNAL
1920


In reply to a communication sent to the Secretary of the College of Nursing, Ltd., asking if it had officially advised members not to join a trade union, the following letter was received :-

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 18th ult., I have to say that Sir Arthur Stanley,
in a circular letter written as Chairman of the Council of the College of Nursing, stated that it was, in his opinion, inadvisable for a Nurse who is a member of the College to join a Professional Trade Union.


Similar advice has been given at Headquarters to a Nurse who enquired as to
membership of the by which, no doubt, she meant ' The Poor Law Workers' Trade Union.'

Yours truly,
(Signed) M. S. RUNDLE,
Secretary .

Closed shop - Bermondsey 1920



Advertisement in "The Hospital"
April 24th 1920


BORGUGH OF BERMONDSEY.

Applications are invited for the appointment of two Midwives.
-Salary, £220, rising by annual increments of £10 to £250 per annum.

The persons selected are to provide and wear, when on duty, a nurse’s uniform, to be approved by the Public Health Committee. Candidates are to hold the certificate of the Central Midwives Board, be registered Midwives, and will be required to belong toa Trade Union.


NOTE
The most famous closed shop was at Willsden, Brent, London after WWII


The London Ambulance Service had a closed shop until the early 1980's

Notice from Deptford, London, 1933

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Socialist Medical Association estb:1930

The Socialist Medical Association (now Socialist Health Association) can trace its roots back to 1912 when the State Medical Services Association was established by a Dr Benjamin Moore of Liverpool.

The origins of the Socialist Medical Association (SMA) lay in the meeting in the summer 1930 between Dr Charles Brook and Dr Ewald Fabian, Secretary of a German organisation of socialist doctors, who commented on the lack of a similar organisation in Britain, following the demise of the State Medical Service Association.

In response Brook convened a meeting in London on 21 September 1930 at the National Labour Club which resulted in the formation of the SMA, with Brook as Secretary and Dr Somerville Hastings, Labour MP for Reading, as the first President.

A constitution was agreed in November 1930, incorporating the basic aims of a socialised medical service,

To work for a Socialised Medical Service both preventive and curative, free and open to all

To secure for the people the highest possible standard of health

To disseminate the principles of socialism within the medical and allied service

The Socialist Medical Association also committed itself to the dissemination of socialism within the medical profession and the support of `medical Members of Parliament'. The SMA was open to all doctors and members of allied professions, such as dentists, nurses and pharmacists, who were socialists and subscribed to its aims

NOTE
COHSE had close links with the Socialist Medical Association and Dr Charles Brook (and his wife Iris Brook a nurse) was a NUCO and COHSE member and activist

Monday, October 23, 2006

Christine Wilde UNISON President


Christine Wilde,Midwife Elected UNISON President 2005-2006

Christine Wilde, a midwife, has been elected president of UNISON by the union’s ruling National Executive Council (NEC). This is the highest lay position in the country’s largest and fastest growing union. Christine has been a longstanding member of UNISON since its creation in 1993. She joined founder union COHSE (Confederation Of Health Service Employees) in 1976.
Christine has held several positions in the union including COHSE branch secretary, chair of the Isle of Wight healthcare trust branch and UNISON vice president. In 1988 Christine was the first woman to become a member of COHSE’s NEC. Christine has also been a member of the Labour Party NEC.
Christine was born and raised in Blackburn, Lancashire. She was educated at Blakely Moore School for girls and went on to train as a midwife at Queens Park hospital, Blackburn. Christine now works and lives in the Isle of Wight, as a midwife. She has two grown up sons, Jason and Greg and two grandsons, Connor, 5, and Craig, 2.

Christine is dedicated to midwifery. She said:“I love to help people; it’s such a rewarding job. I enjoy working with women and the job really stimulates me.”As President, Christine has two main aims, one in the UK and one overseas. In the UK she wants to improve working conditions for public service workers. And overseas she wants to establish a shelter for orphaned children who have lost their parents or carer because of HIV/AIDS.Commenting on her future plans in UNISON Christine said:“I want UNISON to grow physically, I want to make working policies with other unions and most of all I want to establish a shelter for children who have lost everything, children that have been abused or abandoned because of ignorance and power.”

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON said:‘I am pleased to welcome Christine as the new president of UNISON and I look forward to working with her on the future direction of the union.’

Friday, October 20, 2006

Bob Vickerstaff – COHSE President


Bob Vickerstaff – COHSE President

Bob Vickerstaff's death on 2nd June 1976— just three weeks before the start of COHSE's 1976 Delegate Conference, Brighton — was a tragic blow to the union and a shock to us all.

For many.
Bob's name had become synonymous with COHSE Conferences —
he had chaired five since his election as National President at the 1965 Aberdeen Conference, and had been a regular attender at pre-1965 conferences, both as an NEC member and as an ordinary branch delegate.

Stalwart trades unionist Robert William Vickerstaff had been a trades unionist since the age of fourteen.

He was born in Spennymoor, County Durham, the sixth of eight children and brought up locally, moving with his family to the village of Tinsdale at the age of eleven.

Three years later, the year of the General Strike, he followed his father down the pit and was an active member of the miners union. Twice in the next eight years he organised stoppages in protest at the low pay and working conditions.

But, by 1934, he had had enough and decided to train as a student nurse, qualifying as a Registered Mental Nurse in 1938. The war years were spent With the Royal Air Force medical service in Iceland and the Far East. Returning to the new National Health Service for which he had campaigned, he became a charge nurse, and at the time of his death had been Re-habilitation Officer at St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne for many years. At St Nicholas, he organised and maintained a thriving industrial therapy and rehabilitation centre for psychiatric patients.

Bob's connections with COHSE date back many years — to the year he first joined the Service (1934) when he joined the MHIWU (the Mental Health and Institutional Workers Union, which in 1946 merged with the Hospitals and. Welfare Services Union (HWSU) to form COHSE). He became a COHSE branch secretary shortly after Amalgamation.

Active in. the Northern Regional Council of the union. Bob was first elected to the National Executive Committee in 1958. He was chairman of the influential Finance and Organisation Committee, serving brilliantly in that capacity until, following the retirement of Ron Farmer, he was elected National President by a clear majority on the first ballot at the 1965 Aberdeen Conference.

He was constantly re-elected at successive COHSE Conferences and at the time of his death he was serving his final term of office, having been re-elected at the 1975 Blackpool Conference where he gained a record 75.1 per cent of the total votes cast. He was due to retire in two years' time. Bob was a member of the National Staff Committee for Nurses and Midwives, of the Nurses and Midwives Whitley Council and an Industrial Tribunal member. Throughout his Presidency Bob worked ardently with his NEC colleagues, the offices and the branches to ensure the development of the union. His Presidency saw not only a threefold increase in membership (from 64,000 to a current 185,000), but also an expansion in the membership base— from the psychiatric field to the entire National Health Service, one of his personal ambitions.

He was a staunch campaigner for increased officer staffing levels in the regions
last year saw the completion of the first phase of COHSE's expansion progamme in terms of full-time officers in the field. He was a firm believer in the 'COHSE as the one union for all Health Service staffs' concept, and lived to see the union achieve the influence and stature commensurate to its size and membership. More generally, he was a persistent advocate of increased trade union education facilities, believing that this was the key to all progress in the movement.

In recent months, he was concerned most that the union should be fully involved in discussions about any cuts in the Health and Social Services, and was not prepared to be diverted over less important issues such as isolated industrial action over pay-beds.

A kind, sincere man

Bob Vickerstaff's life was marked by a dedication to the union, and he once turned down a very good career opportunity to remain President. Even though he was in great pain during the last days of his life, his concern for the welfare of COHSE and its members never wavered. Although a lay officer, he played a considerable part in the union. He was a tough and determined man, a no-nonsense chairman, but most of all, a kind, sincere man and a leader of great stature.

The new President, Eric Wilson's tribute to Bob in his Presidential Address to this year's Conference admirably sums up Bob's devotion to COHSE and stature in the history of the union: 'He served this union well — what better epitaph can a man have?'

Our deepest sympathies go out to his wife Gloria and daughter Ann in this trying time and in their, and our, great loss.

Tribute by Albert Spanswick,

General Secretary

COHSE Journal July 1976

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Terry Mallinson - COHSE National Officer


Terry Mallinson - COHSE National Officer

It is with great regret that COHSE announces the sudden death of Terry
Mallinson, National Officer who died on
Sunday 19 June 1983 following a
heart attack. just two days after COHSE Conference.

negotiator for ancillary and ambulance staffs, was 49 years old and had been
National Officer since 1 969.
In October he would have completed 21 years' service as a full-time officer.

Terry's death is a deep shock and a great loss both to the Confederation and
the whole trade union movement,' General Secretary David Williams said in
tribute.
'For those of us who knew him, his great love of life and tremendous
enthusiasm and energy for whatever task lay ahead, it is all the more tragic.

Terry was a trade unionist of the old school and a tough and skilled negotiator
who made the fight against low pay in the National Health Service his own personal crusade. As a passionate champion of the NHS and welfare state, he cared deeply for the most vulnerable in society and never lost touch with the people he was fighting for.'

Terry was Chairman of both the Ancillary Staffs Council and the Ambulancemen's Council and also the COHSE officer responsible for the National Joint Council for Local Authority Manual Workers. He was also a member of the National Staffs Committee for Accommodation, Catering and Other Support Services and of the National Staffs Committee for Ambulance Staffs and one of the earliest pioneers for professional.

As a member of the TUC Health Services Committee, he played an important part in last year's NHS pay dispute; he was a member of East Surrey
Health Authority.

Terry was a trained psychiatric and general nurse and former nurse Gold
Medallist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary before talking up his full-time post with the union as Regional Secretary for his native
Yorkshire region in 1962. He was a COHSE member for nearly thirty years.

Deeply proud of his nurse training, Terry retained his interest and concern in the
development of psychiatric services throughout his union career, acting as
secretary to the COHSE working parties which produced the highly acclaimed
reports the Management of Violent Patients and on NHS Secure Treatment

Units. At the time of his death he was secretary to the COHSE working party on
the Future of Psychiatric Services.

He was also immensely proud of his Yorkshire upbringing where, as a member
of a mining family, he started his working life down in the pits as an electrician.

A devoted family man, he leaves behind him his wife Dorothy and sons Nicolas and Jerome. It is to them that Terry's many friends and colleagues in COHSE extend their deepest sympathy and thoughts.



COHSE Journal July 1983

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Scotland and the NAWU

The year 1918 saw a great development of the National Asylum Workers Union (NAWU) in Scotland . The first local NAWU branch in that country was formed at Hartwood Asylum, Lanarkshire, in March 1918, with Thomas Prentice as Branch Secretary.

The Union had, had a number of members at Kingseat Asylum, Aberdeenshire, in the Central (Head Office) Branch for many months (The union had a small membership in Aberdeen and Perth prior to WW1) but to Hartwood fell the distinction of starting on their own branch.

Montrose (John Nicholl NAWU Branch Secretary) and Kingseat (Gutherie D Connon NAWU Branch Secretary) speedily followed their example, and by the middle of the year there were eight or nine Scottish branches in full swing.

The last few months of 1918 and the early ones of the following year witnessed a marked development of the Union.

Following a request for official recognition by Hartwood, a conference of Scottish Asylum Authorities was held in Glasgow,on November 5th, 1918, at which seventeen (out of twenty) district asylums, and five (out of seven) Royal Asylums were represented.

During the discussion it was apparent that the district asylums were about evenly divided on the question of recognition of the (NAWU) Union, while of the Royal Asylums, one was in favour and three against recognition. There was general agreement in favour of a Conciliation Board representative of asylum authorities and asylum workers which could deal with all matters affecting Scottish Asylum Service. Ultimately an advisory committee was appointed to deal with the whole
question.

This Committee met in Glasgow, on December 10th, and decided by twelve votes to six against the recommendation of granting official recognition to the N.A.W.U. They also made suggestions for the establishment of a Conciliation Board for Scotland on which the Union could not be officially represented.

On December 20th, 1918, a conference of delegates from the Scottish Branches of the Union was held in Glasgow, sixteen branches being represented. After addresses by Mr. Edward Edmondson, J.P, NAWU President, and Mr. Herbert Shaw, NAWU Acting Secretary, the following resolutions were unanimously agreed to :—

" That this meeting pledges itself to reject and to oppose any proposal for a Board of Conciliation between the Scottish Asylum Authorities and the Asylum Staffs until official recognition is conceded to the National Asylum Workers' Union and the Union is allowed full representation on such Conciliation Board.

" That a time limit of one calendar month be attached to the application for official recognition, failing the granting of which, steps be taken to declare a strike."

A copy of these resolutions together with the Union's national programme was forwarded to the Scottish Asylum Authorities on January 10th, 1919.

Mr. EDMONDSON'S WARNING.


On January 31st, 1919, the Scottish Asylum Authorities held another conference, at the Central Station Hotel, Glasgow, on the question of recognition, at which Officials of the N.A.W.U. attended by invitation. Mr. Edmondson pointed out the serious position which would arise if recognition were refused. They desired, if they possibly could, to work harmoniously with the whole of the authorities throughout Great Britain and that harmony would be impossible if they were refused the right to speak on behalf of their members. He asked the meeting not to consider the point that it was an English Union. Their General Secretary was as much a Scotsman as any gentleman present; their General Treasurer was a Scotsman, and they had many hundreds of members who were Scotsmen or Scotswomen.

Mr. Shaw informed the meeting that during the last six months 1,200 members from nineteen out of the twenty-seven asylums in Scotland had joined the Union. After the Union Officials had retired the meeting discussed the matter at length.

A motion by Mr. Sharp, of Glasgow, " That this Conference recommends its Constituent Boards to recognise the Union," was lost by eight votes to ten who voted for an amendment that members should report to their individual Boards and get instructions.

A second conference of the Scottish Branches of the Union was held on February 7 to consider the position arising out of the expiration of the month's ultimatum of January 10. A plan of action was agreed upon, but what would undoubtedly have been a very serious situation was averted at the eleventh hour by the receipt of a message from the Acting General Secretary of the Union urging the members to refrain from taking the contemplated drastic action in view of the unanimous decision of the London Conference of Asylum Authorities of Great Britain to press forward the early establishment of an Industrial Council for the whole asylum service.

The NAWU faced fierce competition from the Municiple Employees Association (MEA) now GMB in Glasgow Asylums but by January 1919 the NAWU claimed to represent half of the 2,500 asylum workers in Scotland.

However, by September 1923 only five authorities remained on the employers side of the Scottish Joint Consulative Committee, (Dudee, Fife, Govan, Lanark and Kirklands) by 1924 it had disbanded.

In 1928 the NAWU in Scotland appointed a temporary "Lady organiser" to go around the asylums recruiting. The women appointed was Mrs Beaton, This was probably Kate Beaton, Glasgow City Labour councillor and well known union organiser for the Federation of Women Workers (along with Mary Barbour).

Mrs (Kate) Beaton was therefore COHSE's first woman paid official

NOTE

Delegates to the NAWU conference of 28th September 1918 at Chandos Hall, The Strand, London included
Mr William Fraser representing Montrose, Morningside and Kirklands Asylums NAWU branches
Hartwood failed to send a delegate as Kingseat, and Woodilee

NAWU Branch Secretaries June 1920

ABBEY—Miss C. McDonald, 1, Craw Boad, Paisley.
ABERDEEN—Mr. W. Middleton, Royal Asylum, Aberdeen.
BANGOUR.—Mr. J. L. Wakelin. 41, Dechmont, West Lothian, Scotland.
BANFF—Mr. J. Gardiner, Ladysbridge Asylum, by Banff.
CRIGHTON-
CUPAR—Mr. Thomas Melrose, The Retreat, Cupar. Fife.
DYKEBAR—Mr. Donald MacIver. The Cottages, Dykebar, Paisley.
DUNDEE—Mr. David Mackenzie, 9, Westgreen Cottages. Liff.
ELGIN- Mr. James George. District Asylum. Elgin, N.B.
GARTLOCH—Mr. P. J. Clark. Mid Cottage. Gartloch, Gartloch.
GREENOCK—Mr. William Cameron, 7. Smithson Cottages, Greenock.
HARTWOOD.—Mr. Thomas Prentice, The Asylum, Hartwood. Lanark.
HAWKHEAD—Mr. Malcolm McCormick. Hawkhead Asylum, Crookston, Glasgow.
INVERNESS.—Mr John McCrum, Asylum Cottage, Inverness.
KIRKLANDS—Mr. James Graham, 5, Kirklands Cottages, Bothwell.
KINGSEAT—Mr Gutherie D Connon, Cockcairns,Kingseat. Newmachar
LARBERT- Mr Charles Ritchie, Inches Cottages. Larbert,Sterlingshire
MELROSE- Mr John Fox, Asylum Cottages. Melrose. Scotland.
MIDLOTHIAN AND PEEBLES—Mr. M. Byrne,Rosslynee, Rosslyn Castle, Edinburgh.
MONTROSE—Mr. John Nicoll, Royal Asylum,Asylum Cottages,Montrose
MORNINGSIDE—Mr. J. Davidson. 44. Craighouse Gardens, Edinburgh
RICCARTSBAR—Mr. D. Campbell, District Asylum. Riccartsbar, Paisley
STONEYETTS—Mr. George Dickson, Stoneyetts Cottages, Chryston.Glasgow.
WOODILEE-Mr. H. MacDonald, 4, Loch Boad. Kirkintilloch, Dumbartonshirc.

First COHSE Branch in Northern Ireland 1958

First COHSE Branch in Northern Ireland 1958

Armagh Shows the Way

AN EXAMPLE TO ULSTER'S 4,000 NURSES

By Miss Katherine. M. Daly, COHSE Organiser

THE enthusiasm of nurses in Northern Ireland is something at which I am still marveling.

Their spontaneous movement to join the Confederation (COHSE) resulted in my first visit to Northern Ireland, where my services were requested, not as is usually the case, to persuade hospital staff to become members, but to welcome a large group of nurses into membership. These nurses were aware of our efforts to improve their salaries and conditions through the Nurses and Midwives Council and were concerned that they were taking everything and giving nothing.

Nearly 100 nurses attended my first meeting in Armagh, and I was impressed that the questions were mainly on general principles and not on personal issues. At this meeting the St. Luke's Branch was established, and it was clearly indicated that the nurses in Armagh will not be content to have only one branch.

It would be wrong to suggest that this movement is confined to Armagh. Within an hour of landing at Belfast my badge was recognised by a doctor who, on being told I was an organiser, asked me to go with him to a general hospital where, he said, " The nurses have been looking for the Confederation for a long time." A number of Belfast nurses will know that I accepted this offer and anticipate visiting Belfast again in the near future to establish at least one branch there.

The aim of the Armagh Branch is to build up a membership of 4,000 nurses in Northern Ireland. Whether they have set themselves an impossible task remains to be seen but, if there are as many nurses in Northern Ireland, I am convinced we will be welcoming them into membership in the not too distant future, for in Armagh we have a group of people who have recognised that unity is strength and that as every nurse needs the Confederation, so does the Confederation need the support of every nurse.

Good luck Armagh !

COHSE Health Services Journal July 1958
Confederation of Health Service Employees (COHSE)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Who was the first nurse MP Member of Parliament ?



Who was the first nurse MP ?
The title of first nurse elected to parliament is a hotly disputed one….

Some have argued that Alice Mahon a NUPE nursing auxillary (Labour – Halifax) elected in 1987 was first, others Laura Moffat COHSE Registered nurse (Labour –Crawley) elected in 1997. Others Anne (Picking) Moffat a COHSE/UNISON registered nurse elected for Labour at East Lothian in 2001, or Ann Keen nursing tutor and NUPE/CDNA member for Labour at Brentford & Isleworth,



In 2005 Jim Devine a former COHSE registered nurse and UNISON Head of Health, Scotland was elected for Livingstone along with Tory, Ann Milton, RCN steward elected at Guildford.

But few know that a registered nurse was actually elected as long ago as 1958
Mrs Mary McAlister MP
 
Elected Member of Parliament for Kelvingrove, Glasgow, Scotland in a by-election in March 1958 but lost the seat in 1959.

Mary was born Mary Agnes McMackin in Rathmullan, Donegal, Ireland.Educated at a Franciscan Convent in Glasgow. From 1923 to 1926, she trained as a fever nurse at the Knightswood Hospital in Glasgow. She married in 1927 and had four children. Mary McAlister was elected as a Labour Councillor for Glasgow City Council (1945-1958), where she was Chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee . Member of Western Regional Hospital Board, appointed a JP in 1947. Awarded a CBE in 1967 and died in 1976.


Michael Walker