Monday, December 31, 2012

National NHS Ancillary Workers Demonstrations 13th December 1972


National Demonstrations against the Tories Pay freeze were organised by COHSE & NUPE in all major cities on 13th December 1972 including London, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Brighton and many others

Click to enlarge photos

Saturday, December 29, 2012

COHSE NEC Members - Region 6 North West Thames & Oxford


George Nazer was elected to COHSE's National Executive Committee for Region 6 (North West Thames & Oxford) in 1979, replacing Andy Dempsey (Leavesden). George a former Durham University geography student, joined the NHS in 1973 becoming the Vice Chairman of Shenley Hospital (Hertfordshire) branch in 1974 , Branch Chairman in 1975 and Branch secretary in 1977. Later moving to a mental health unit at St Mary's and later central Middlesex hospital.

George Nazer was  undoubtedly one of the most highly effective, progressive and intellectual member's of COHSE's NEC, traits only overshadowed by his commitment to ensuring professionalism in mental health nursing.


Roy Oliver was a nurse and branch secretary at Hungerford Hospital (established 7th August 1968) and later Reading and District COHSE branch.

He led a successful campaign to save the 100 beded care of the elderly Hungerford Hospital in 1978/79

A key supporter of the Berkshire Joint Trade Union Committee which Roy chaired.
A Liberal Councillor in Hungerford (later he joined the Labour Party because of the failure of the Liberals to oppose the Tories in the 80's).

He was a National Executive Committee Member for Region 6 

Roy Oliver was openly "Gay"  speaking out for Gay rights at every opportunity , he wore his pink triangle "Gay Rights" badge with pride when it was not popular or safe to do so.

Roy was a popular NEC member and his popularity helped COHSE in securing an early trade union commitment to Lesbian and Gay rights. However he had earlier been slow hand clapped for supporting Gay rights at COHSE Conference.

COHSE's early commitment to Lesbian and gay rights culminated in the union refusing to hold its conference on the Isle of Man and its high profile opposition to Clause 28.

Roy was involved in the Battle Hospital Miners Support Group

Like so many of his friends he died young.


Jenny Koch was elected in a shock victory over the popular Roy Oliver in 1985. Jenny was branch Secretary of COHSE Wycombe branch and a community Midwife.  She qualified as a nurses at Suffolk General hospital in 1968. In 1975 moving to Wycombe. Active in a successful campaign to save community midwives in Wycombe

Jenny Koch along with Christine Wilde were active COHSE midwives on the NEC, and reflected COHSE's base (continued in UNISON) amongst radical midwives.

Both COHSE's and Unison's had great success in secure COHSE/Unison midwives were elected midwifery positions on the old UKCC Nursing Boards, despite not being the dominate union in midwifery


Dan Moriarty was one of the most popular and respected members of the National Executive Committee until his retirement last year (1972). He had represented No. 6 Region
since 1968 and was also a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Committee and
the Staff Superannuation Committee.

Dan, accompanied by his wife, was the guest of honour at the Annual General
Meeting of his former region on 16 April and was presented with a cheque and
framed life-membership certificate.

  In making the presentation, Tom Hedditch.  Regional Chairman during Dan's
term of office, referred to his exceptional personal qualities saying: 'He was never
too busy to try to help not only his fellow trade unionists but his fellow men.' His
generosity  and  compassion  were  well known and demonstrated in his everyday
approach to life: although he had suffered the horrors of a Japanese prisoner of war
camp, he bore no resentment towards his former captors - his regard for his fellow
men was not limited by race or creed.

  St Bernard's Hospital Branch, where he was branch secretary, owes a great deal to
Dan's organising abilities; it is now one of the largest branches in the country, and
Charlie Wood, who spoke as a member of the National Executive Committee, said
that Dan's point of view had always been respected  and  he  paid  tribute  to  his
diligence and devotion to duty.

  Mrs Moriarty, who was presented with a bouquet of flowers, was described as
'The good woman behind the man'. There is no doubt that her support had contributed to her husband's success.

  In reply Dan, who now lives in South Wales, said it had always been a pleasure
to carry out the various duties required of him, and referred to No. 6 Region as the
most vigilant and enthusiastic in the Confederation. He sincerely hoped that the
standards he had set over the years were acceptable.

  As Regional Secretary, may I say that for No. 6 Region there is no doubt that
Dan Moriarty's standards were most acceptable - the point is whether we who
follow him can even attempt to follow in his footsteps. We wish him all the best for
a long and happy retirement.

COHSE Journal June 1973

New London GLC Ambulance Prototype Unvailed 1973


New Greater London Council Ambulance Service, Ambulance
designed by Anthony Smallhorn and manufactured by Reeve Coachbuilders Ltd

On 30 January 1973, Sir Desmond Plummer, Leader of the GLC, handed over a new prototype ambulance to the London Ambulance Service. 
The new ambulance, designed to meet the specifications of the Ministry of Health's Miller Report of 1967 and the Ogle Report, sponsored by the National Research Development Corporstion in 1969, will mean greater comfort for the patient (with its front wheel drive and independent suspension) and should be far more acceptable to the crew, in so far as there is full standing height inside and the step height into the vehicle is only 9 inches (as compared with an average of 23 inches in existing ambulances). 
Whilst the interior is scarcely bigger overall, the design of the new ambulance manages to provide much more room for and access to the two patients, with space for an attendant to sit at the head of the stretcher.
Under the Government's planned re-organisation of the Health Service, control over the London Ambulance Service will pass from the GLC to one of London's four Regional Hospital Authorities. Sir Desmond took the opportunity of expressing his concern over this proposal and hoped that the Government would have 'second thoughts about removing such a vital  service  from  the  control  of  the democratically elected representatives of
the people'.

Health Sevices (COHSE Union Journal) March 1973

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

COHSE & The Miners

The recent revelation that Police colluded to ensure the prosecution and jailing of miners during the 1984-85 miners strike, comes as no surprise to those active at the time.

The only surprise is that it has been revealed in our lifetime, a fact only due to the tireless efforts of the Hillsborough campaign for justice, which highlighted the establishments successful attempts to hide the truth of what really happened to 96 innocent Liverpool supporters killed at Hillsborough on 15th April 1989

Not only were the 96 football fans who died, defamed but the Tories and their establishment friends attempted to vilify the whole City of Liverpool, that rallied to support the families. 

The Hillsborough Inquiry, highlighted establishment collusion and police collusion at the highest levels and it soon became evident that the same tactics used to marginalise the Hillsborough families, had also been used extensively during the miners strike.

During the Miners  strike 11,291 people were arrested, of whom 8,392 were charged, we now know many of those charged were totally innocent.

COHSE activists at the time feared that the sequestration and imprisoning of miners was simply an attempt by the establishment to smash a democratic and free trade union in Britain.

COHSE had always had a strong bond of friendship towards the miners and a "debt of gratitude" had grown over many years, not least because the miners had often taken action in support of nurses and NHS staffs pay and they campaigner alongside us to defend hospitals from closure.

So it was that a "middle of the road" union like COHSE would play a critical role in ensuring, that to the surprise of Neil Kinnock and Labour Party apparatchiks a resolution at the October 1985  Labour Party conference was carried calling for a future Labour Government to investigate the jailing of miners and a full scale amnesty. 

The Labour Party leadership were sure of victory so it was to their great shock to find that the decisive vote in favour was cast by COHSE. 

To COHSE's great pride and the Labour Party leadership's shock.

Of course the Blair government did nothing about the Amnesty or for that matter Hillsborough, but the truth has finally begun to appear and those of us who stated that the jailing were a simply political act have been vindicated. 

Unfortunately many convicted and framed miners lost their pensions and employment, many died not knowing that their innocence would one day be revealed.

We salute those brave striking miners once again for their courage and fortitude against overwhelming forces.

Longworth Hospital Occupation 1981

COHSE members had always been at the forefront of the campaign to defend NHS services.

In early December 1980 a brave fight was waged by COHSE nurses and NHS staff to keep open a rural 50 beded care of the elderly hospital called Longworth in Oxfordshire. 

Faced with immediate closure of 13 beds on the top floor of the hospital, staff knew it would only be a matter of time before the rest of the hospital would be closed and the patients transferred to Whitney hospital eight miles away

So with held from Oxford Trades Union Council the hospital was occupied by the eighty nursing and support staff. 

Assistant COHSE Steward Myra Bungay stated to the Health Service Journal

"We're fighting for the life of the hospital.........Most of the patients have been here a long time and Longworth is now home to them"

The refusal of Ambulancemen to remove patients from the hospital also strengthened the occupation.

Typically the Royal College of Nursing General secretary Catherine Hall condemned the action demanding that the "Management regain control of the hospital for the sake of nurses and patients" local Rcn Regional Officer Bill Reynolds said"The AHA have lost all control of the hospital" he also claimed a Rcn steward at the hospital had been transferred to another hospital "because the AHA cannot guarantee her safety"

However the courageous fight was to be a brief one, In early February (Tuesday 10th ?) 1981, in a surprise raid by management, the vulnerable patients were removed from the hospital by force and moved to the Churchill Hospital.

As was well documented many of the frail elderly patients now seriously disorientated did not survive many weeks after they were ripped from their homes and the staff the knew (later know as the relocation effect

Police sealed off roads around the hospital to prevent supporters defending the hospital.

The Area Health authority claimed it had raided the hospital because COHSE nurses refused to call off the work-in

Ernie Brook COHSE Regional Officer stated " The Area Health Authority gave verbal assurances it would retain the beds for the next three or four years, when I went to receive its written assurance of the agreement, this sticking point was not included"

"Our COHSE members had fought bravely to defend patient care and the hospital'

Longworth Hospital closed soon after the occupation.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympics 2012 - We Love OUR NHS

Thanks to Nurse Kate and Danny Boyle of course !

Olympic NHS Nurses Tweet Pics - Liberal Conspiracy

NHS Nurses Pic - Liberal Conspiracy
Sunny Hundal

You saw the NHS nurses at the Olympics ceremony last night… but what happened afterwards? Horse McDonald @horsemusic

They returned home of course, many of them decked out in their brilliant costumes. Some went out drinking afterwards.

Naturally, Twitter was ablaze with their pictures. Here is a selection.

(pics via various sources, including NYT)