Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/676/12276
Con-Dems still plan to destroy NHS - Save our health service!
Andrew Walton, Unison rep (personal capacity), Leicestershire Partnership Trust
The Con-Dems' tinkering with the Health and Social Care Bill has not stopped their assault on the NHS or their agenda of privatisation. In the teeth of working class anger, a few token concessions have been made.
But all three main parties remain wedded to abolishing the founding principles of the NHS: that it is free at the point of need, provides comprehensive health care for all and is nationally owned and paid for by everybody.
The NHS is still due to be broken up into GP consortiums. The new proposals do not reinstate the secretary of state's 'duty to provide' the health service in the Bill. Without this, there is no National Health Service.
Private companies will still be free to profit from illness; pharmaceutical companies will still rip off the NHS to the tune of billions of pounds; and Foundation Trusts will still be competing with each other, rather than a nationalised health service organised in the best interests of patients.
Patients and health workers need more than a few cosmetic changes; we have to fight to ensure the Health and Social Care Bill is scrapped altogether.
Cuts and closures
We still face NHS cuts and closures. NHS workers are having their pensions slashed. The NHS may be privatised slightly more slowly, with slightly more 'consultation' and the 'involvement' of doctors and nurses.
Yet former New Labour health secretary Alan Milburn has complained in the Tory press that the Con-Dems have 'stepped back' in their privatisation plans.
New Labour and the Con-Dems remain committed to the eventual abolition of the NHS. They speak of patient choice, but what choice do we have except to fight back against huge cuts being made to NHS services?
We are fighting a weak coalition which has already made u-turns and concessions in the face of opposition, for example on privatisation of forests and delaying their plans to sell off the Royal Mail. After their drubbing in the May elections, the Lib Dems are desperate to be seen to be 'moderating' the Tories.
Business comes first
The Bill is part of an ideologically driven attack against all our public services. Organised workers within fighting trade unions are a huge obstacle to these reforms.
All three parties of big business want to smash the trade unions organised in the public sector. We must step up the battle to protect our NHS and all our public services.
Workers fighting back against cuts do not need to be lectured to by millionaire politicians and their fat cat mates, who do not rely on or care about our public services. We need national, united industrial action in opposition to the government.
The Socialist Party stands for kicking big business out of the NHS. Unlike stage-managed consultation exercises, we would put health workers and patients in charge, with decisions made democratically.
However, unless we abolish the rule of profit and put in its place a socialist society, we will continually have to fight for crumbs from the table of the rich.
In The Socialist 22 June 2011:
Socialist Party feature
Building for 30th June
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Reviews and comments
Fighting the cuts