The Trades Union Congress in Blackpool: Bottomley to hear calls for better deal for NHS women

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IN A specially arranged meeting with Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for Health, the TUC will call next Tuesday for greater emphasis on the plight of low-paid women in the National Health Service and the need for career breaks for female doctors, writes Barrie Clement.

Union leaders believe Mrs Bottomley will be more sympathetic than her predecessors. The 10-member TUC health committee will also call for an extra pounds 1bn to be spent on the service and greater commitment to training.

Mrs Bottomley has brought forward a meeting arranged for November so that she can hear the views of the committee before the NHS budget, currently pounds 40bn, is finally set for next year.

Unions will tell Mrs Bottomley that NHS morale is low because of underfunding, the fear of unemployment and the new management practices of the free-standing hospital trusts. The Secretary of State will be told that the market is not the way to allocate health resources and that central planning is required.