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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2013

Prepare for strike action to save our hospitals

A London nurse
20 October 2012 TUC demo , photo Senan

20 October 2012 TUC demo , photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

A quarter of a million residents of Lewisham in south London are waiting to hear if they will still have a local hospital.

Asset strippers, led by special administrator Matthew Kershaw, are trying to carve up the local NHS.

Another 500,000 people could be hit by other changes Kershaw is considering in the South London Healthcare Trust hospitals.

The closure of state of the art medical facilities at Lewisham hospital is a disgusting waste of public money. For example it cost 12 million to upgrade Lewisham's

A&E department and put X-ray machines in each cubicle. It is now under threat. If the intensive care unit closes, 100 nursing and medical jobs will be put at risk.

The long term plan for Lewisham hospital is to downgrade it and sell off 58% of the site to property developers.

The administrators also plan to shut Orpington hospital completely and Princess Royal in Bromley may be managed by private providers.

But Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire is already being 'privately managed' with disastrous consequences.

With all of these cuts in our NHS, sitting back and complaining isn't enough. There is already a community-based fightback in south London which is holding another big protest on 26 January.

Lewisham hospital staff want to join in with the public and fight but they are being held back by their union leadership.

These leaders cannot stem the tide of anger forever. Regional officials from Unison recently attended a Greenwich local 'save our NHS' meeting. That shows the pressure they are under from their members.

In London, seven out of 32 A&E departments are already marked for closure by 2020 and the remainder will have to cover an extra 120,000 people on average.

But this battle is nationwide. It is time the health workers' unions and the trade union movement as a whole gave a clear lead in fighting these plans.

The fight needs to be escalated by encouraging nurses and other NHS staff to move to the forefront of the struggle and take industrial action. They will get massive public support and backing when they do so!

Socialist Party activists from Greenwich and Lewisham are offering staff encouragement and a programme to get their unions moving to defend all the hospitals at risk.

We are urging health workers to petition their union leaderships and put motions to their branches calling for a strike ballot.

We stress that these NHS cuts are not necessary. Our ideas are chiming with hospital staff and local people alike.

The fight for Lewisham A&E and the future of the NHS is on. With determined action we can defeat these cuts.

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In The Socialist 9 January 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

"Enough is enough!" - Fight all cuts

2013: Prepare for a mighty battle against deeper cuts

Unite the Union general secretary election

More attacks on benefits...

Making it easier to sack workers

More Tory privatisation

Who's neglecting society, Mr Lamb?

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

India: Mass rage against rape

South Africa: Founding of Workers and Socialist Party

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Prepare for strike action to save our hospitals

'The Eight Consultations of Christmas' in Southampton

Birmingham Labour's 'grotesque chaos'

Anti-cuts election candidates

Campaigns - In brief

2012 Fighting Fund target smashed

Socialist Party women's meeting


Robbie Segal

Socialist Party workplace news

Standing firm in Mid Yorks hospitals pay cuts battle

London Underground cleaners strike over New Year

Tyne and Wear Metro strikers tell bosses to end poverty pay

Losing patience with Usdaw


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