Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11154
The Con-Dem government's latest disastrous reforms to the National Health Service come on top of at least £20 billion of 'efficiency savings' ie cuts, that health managers have been told to implement by 2014.
This has led to thousands of job cuts and hospital ward and department closures. Recently the West Midlands health trust announced that 1,600 jobs are to be axed, which will badly hit patient care.
NHS London, the capital's strategic health authority, is 'reconfiguring' its health services by closing Accident and Emergency departments and shedding thousands of hospital beds.
According to the British Medical Association some £5 billion will be cut from London's health budget by 2017.
Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contracts for new hospitals, schools, etc, are costing the public purse a staggering £229 billion, yet the actual value of these projects is only £56 billion.
PFI schemes typically involve a private contractor building a hospital and owning it for 25 or 35 years while leasing it back to the NHS for a tidy profit.
For example, the Princess Royal hospital in Bromley, south London, built through a PFI contract, will cost the NHS £1.2 billion - more than ten times its actual value!
Trade unionists across the country will be angered that, yet again, bosses at BA have forced Unite cabin crew to re-ballot through a combination of intimidation and a 'legal blitz'.
Starting out as a battle over impositions to members' contracts, cabin crew were forced to take industrial action, as BA was unwilling to negotiate. In the course of the dispute the battle has morphed into a fight to maintain union organisation.
Unite cabin crew are calling for the removal of sanctions taken against union members as a result of participation in lawful strike action and for the right of the union to organise itself amongst the workforce.
This is clearly an attempt to prevent working-people legitimately using their hard won democratic rights to defend their jobs, terms and conditions and pensions.
Egypt's beleaguered president Hosni Mubarak can't have many friends left after weeks of mass protests against his rule. However, it appears that he does still enjoy the support of Frank Wisner, president Barack Obama's envoy to Cairo.
The diplomat left White House staff flabbergasted after remarking: "President Mubarak's continued leadership is critical: it's his opportunity to write his legacy."
It appears that this was no diplomatic slip of the tongue as Wisner is also employed for a US law firm that works for the Mubarak regime. Wisner's employer, Patton Boggs, also advises the Egyptian military and boasts that its attorneys "represent some of the leading Egyptian commercial families and their companies".
No conflict of interests here then!
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis