Unite members were saddened to hear of the death last week (May 28) of one of the union’s health sector giants, Dr Ron Singer.
Dr Singer, a GP, had been chair of Doctors in Unite (DiU), formerly known as the Medical Practitioners’ Union (MPU). The union formed of mostly GPs celebrated its centenary in 2014.
Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe wrote to reps last Friday (May 29). He said, “It is with great sorrow that we write to tell you that our friend and colleague Ron Singer died last night. He was in Whipps Cross Hospital having had a heart attack at home last week. We are told that Ron had been chronically unwell for many years, but was doing so well.
“Many of you will have known Ron from his attendance at the health national industrial sector committee (HNISC) representing the MPU/DiU and at Unite rallies over the years.
“You may also be aware of his sterling work in reviving the MPU and the creation of Doctors in Unite a few years ago when it had almost become defunct. He was a GP and an active member of the Keep our NHS Public (KONP) campaign and worked tirelessly to save our NHS.
“He was well loved in the movement and will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Members of Doctors in Unite are devastated and we send them and Ron’s wife and family our very sincere condolences,” added Jarrett-Thorpe.
And DiU current chair Dr Jackie Applebee, wrote in the group’s newsletter adding these words to Dr Singer’s story:
“We were deeply saddened to hear of the death last night (May 28) of our wonderful friend and comrade Dr Ron Singer. Tributes have been pouring in all day. It is very hard to encapsulate such a fantastic human being in words.
“Ron was an inspiration to so many people. He was passionate, principled, and a loyal friend, who never shied away from the front line fighting against injustice. He was Chair of Doctors in Unite, formerly the Medical Practitioners Union for many years, and celebrated its centenary as Chair in 2014.
Uncompromising defender of NHS
“He was an uncompromising defender of the NHS as Nye Bevan intended, a comprehensive health service, free at the point of delivery, publicly funded and provided for all.
“Andrew Lansley’s dastardly Health and Social Care Act had Ron chasing the then Health Secretary down the corridors of hospitals trying to make him explain how the Bill would be nothing but a disaster – and how prescient Ron was. Lansley ignored him as he was hurried away by security guards, but Ron has been proved right.
“Ron was a committed trade unionist and we are so pleased that only a few weeks ago he was interviewed by Doctors in Unite, where he explained why doctors should be in a trade union.
“Ron may have died but his legacy will live on for a very long time. We will miss him.”
Ron Singer on NHS reforms
Compiled by Amanda Campbell @amanda_unite