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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 June 2012


Roger Shrives
Unite members at St Thomas' Hospital on strike 10 May 2012 as part of the nationwide strike of workers in the public sector against attacks on pensions , photo Paul Mattsson

Unite members at St Thomas' Hospital on strike 10 May 2012 as part of the nationwide strike of workers in the public sector against attacks on pensions , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The Con-Dems have the National Health Service in their sights - but now we can see clearly their brutal intentions! Tory health minister Andrew Lansley is putting the South London Healthcare NHS Trust into the hands of a government 'special administrator'.

Already there are open threats to jobs and services at the trust's three hospitals, Queen Elizabeth at Woolwich, Queen Mary's in Sidcup and Princess Royal at Bromley.

The media headlines say the trust is losing 1 million a week and has run up deficits of more than 150 million over the past three years. But that deficit is caused by privatisation - especially the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme for building hospitals which makes rich businesses even richer at our expense.

PFI schemes in this trust area alone now cost 61 million per year in interest payments, far more than the hospitals' losses and PFI repayments are due to last another 20 years! These charges put private profit before local people's health.

This open threat is also a warning to other health authorities - over 20 are already in serious debt due to PFI. The Con-Dems want to bail out the banks but not the hospitals, for us it's austerity and attacks on services. That's why we must fight back.

PFI , introduced by the Tories but accelerated by Labour, means that NHS organisations will eventually pay over 50 billion for buildings worth 11 billion. Princess Royal hospital, built under a PFI contract will cost the NHS 1.2 billion, more than ten times its real value.

In order to boost the profits of the 1%, especially the speculators and private health shareholders, the government expects local people (the 99%) to pay with cancelled operations, lower levels of service and a massacre of jobs and workers' conditions.

Onay Kasab, facing a witchhunt in 2008, photo Paul Mattsson

Onay Kasab, photo Paul Mattsson

Onay Kasab, a Unite activist in Greenwich, told the Socialist: "The news comes as no surprise to those of us fighting against privatisation of services in this area. We correctly pointed out that PFI (Profit from Illness) would lead to massive profits for private companies, while services were put at risk and we would be left to pick up the pieces from the resultant debts.

"From the beginning, before the PFI companies began ripping us off, we said that PFI is a money laundering exercise letting public money go into the coffers of private companies via a convoluted route. Now is the time to demand a halt and reversal of the privatisation of the health service."

NHS users and workers must organise a fightback to ensure that resistance becomes reality. Delegates to the British Medical Association (BMA) conference voted this week for a campaign to repeal Lansley's Health and Social Care Act. Other unions have policies demanding a fight against cuts and privatisation.

Socialists will be fighting to build a mass struggle, led by the trade unions, with protest marches and strikes, to save the NHS and the other services being attacked by this government. No to austerity, no to NHS cuts!

NHS Feature:

Stop the NHS massacre

It has been well documented that the National Health Service (NHS) is under attack and in England faces its total destruction through the Health and Social Care Act.

But exactly what is happening, why and what can be done about it? Socialist Party health worker activists, including Terry Pearce of the Save Heatherwood Hospital campaign (personal capacity) investigate.

Read on ...

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In The Socialist 27 June 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Hypocrites! Tories bash benefits, rich let off the hook

Breadline Britain - living in poverty

Poverty and job worries hit mental health

Teachers report children going hungry

Government of rich ups war on welfare state

Miliband speech: no answer to the race to the bottom

Protest for affordable housing - join the Austerity Games

Life in a 'forgotten' area

Cuts ignore immense needs

Them & Us

Socialist Party NHS campaign


Stop the NHS massacre

Socialist Party workplace news

London bus workers show their strength

Police wade in at Coryton protest

HMRC members show their opposition to another round of job cuts and privatisation

RMT conference prepares for battle

Sheffield recycling workers: Support their indefinite strike action

Unison conference Delegates call for effective battle on pay

Unison backs Tamil Solidarity

Unite conference 'The renaissance of trade unionism'

Block on Progress - "intolerable think tank"?

Wales Shop Stewards Network

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition: Building the fight against all cuts

International socialist news and analysis

Spain: New epicentre of crisis in Europe

Kazakh embassy protest to free Bolat Atabayev


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