Unison has claimed a 'decisive' victory after Labour's attempts to agree a compromise statement on the future of the NHS failed - just a day after the union's motion criticising current health policy was carried.

Unison has claimed a 'decisive' victory after Labour's attempts to agree a compromise statement on the future of the NHS failed - just a day after the union's motion criticising current health policy was carried.

Last Wednesday, a Unison motion attacking the 'marketisation' of the NHS, calling for a slow-down of reform, a review of outsourcing, and for organisations to be given longer to resolve their debts, was carried by an overwhelming majority.

As a result, the Labour party's national executive committee promised a new statement on NHS policy, which was put to a card vote last Thursday.

But the statement - which called on the Department of Health to create a new 'stakeholder forum' to discuss reforms, which should also be urgently discussed by the party's health policy commission - was roundly rejected, by 63 votes to 37.

Head of health Karen Jennings said the first result was 'absolutely decisive and I think it really did represent the sense of feeling in the hall' during the debate last week'.

Unison's amendment to the health debate called for an end to the 'headlong rush' to introduce markets to the NHS; for acute and primary care trusts to be given longer to balance their books; for payment by results to be delayed pending local review; and for a national review of outsourcing.

Ms Jennings said that given recent ministerial statements saying that the pace of change should not be slowed down, union members had 'no confidence' that the recommendations in the NEC statement would make any difference to changes that were currently taking effect.

Health union Amicus is preparing to ballot for industrial action in the National Blood Service over the potential closure of 14 blood centres across the country. The union says cuts announced at a board meeting of the British Blood Transfusion Society last week are being made without meaningful consultation, and says it will ballot its 2,000 members on strike action if the plans go ahead.