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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 November 2012

Save our NHS - scrap the act!

Tom Baldwin, Bristol TUSC mayoral candidate

20 billion, according to corporate advisers Catalyst, is the size of the "opportunity" for private health firms in the NHS over the next few years thanks to the Con-Dems' Health and Social Care Act.

The act allows private companies to control GP surgeries and commission services from "any willing provider". Big business vultures don't care about our health, only the profits they can make.

Figures show a 10% rise in the number of non-emergency operations paid for by the NHS but carried out by profit-making companies in the last year. These totalled 345,200.

In February, Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Cambridgeshire became the first NHS hospital to be run by a private company, Circle Health, which has cut 46 nursing posts.

Hospital cleaning services were privatised from 1983. Since then the number of cleaners has been cut in half.

The subsequent disaster has led some trusts to take cleaning back in house but the government has not heeded the warning.

Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes, hugely expanded under Labour, mean hospitals are built by private companies and leased back by the taxpayer at many times the original cost.

For example, the expansion of Southmead hospital in Bristol will cost taxpayers 2.1 billion, more than three times the project's original cost.

These debts are now driving other cuts including a risk to the A&E at Bristol Royal Infirmary. Kicking out PFI contracts would save the NHS billions of pounds.

The government has no mandate for this profiteers' charter. The Tories dishonestly claimed they would make no top-down reorganisations of the NHS.

I am standing as the Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts candidate for Bristol mayor on a programme of protecting public services including the NHS.

We would organise a referendum on the Health and Social Care Act as part of the on-going campaign against NHS cuts and privatisation.

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In The Socialist 7 November 2012:


 

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