Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/680/12426
Privatisation and cuts undermine the NHS
Andrew Walton, Unison rep, Leicestershire Partnership Trust - personal capacity
The chief executive of UHL (University Hospitals Leicester) has threatened that staff will not be paid in August and September, if current spending rates continue at Leicester's hospitals. Already, 200 staff have not been paid for overtime this month. Staff have been asked to take unpaid leave or reduce their hours.
The Socialist Party totally condemned this action and called a public meeting to launch a campaign to demand that staff receive their full pay.
Management are saying that not keeping to financial plans would have 'terminal consequences' for the hospital's application to become a Foundation Trust. Instead of putting patient care first they are prioritising finances. It is dangerous to expect 'efficiency savings' to make up the shortfall when wards are already chronically under-staffed.
Foundation Trusts will force hospitals to compete with each other rather than cooperate to provide the best care. Hospitals could go bankrupt. In Leicester, UHL Trust has to make budget cuts, year on year over the next five years amounting to £158 million, due to spending cuts from the government. Cuts of this scale will undoubtedly lead to redundancies.
These cuts can be stopped. Unison, the main union in the NHS, needs a fighting leadership, and to coordinate industrial action with the other public sector unions. The Socialist Party calls for a 24-hour public sector general strike.
The Tories were lying when they said that they would not cut the NHS. Jobs will have to be slashed as a result of more than £20 billion of 'efficiency savings'. Yet the process of privatisation, encouraging hospitals to become Foundation Trusts, began under Labour. All three main parties are in hock to the interests of big business - ordinary people need to build their own party to represent their interests.
The money is there to fully fund our public services. The government bailed out the banks with over £1 trillion of our money. The economic crisis was caused by the rich and big business, not public sector workers. The money exists to pay for jobs, education and health care for all but it is in the hands of tiny rich minority.
The Socialist Party is against all cuts in public services. We demand:
- Staff to be guaranteed pay in accordance with their contracts, including overtime and enhancements.
- Services should be properly funded and wards staffed to meet patient need, not financial profit.
- For an all-members meeting of the trade unions to be held urgently to discuss action, including industrial action, to defeat these attacks.
- No cuts to jobs and services.
- No to Foundation Trusts and privatisation. For a fully funded, publicly owned and democratically run NHS.
In The Socialist 20 July 2011:
News International scandal
Socialist Party news and analysis
Anti-cuts news and campaigning
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
International socialist news and analysis
Selling the Socialist
Socialist Party review