Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/753/16182
Mid Staffs hospital scandal: Cuts, PFI and big business to blame
Local Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) supporters and Socialist Party members were out in Stafford on 16 February, campaigning over the future of Stafford hospital.
The national media and government attempt to blame nurses, doctors and other staff for the horrific deaths of between 400 and 1,000 patients. Individual acts of neglect and cruelty should of course be investigated but the real blame for this disaster lies elsewhere.
For more than three decades Tory, Labour and now Con-Dem governments have pushed big business practices into the NHS.
To become a Foundation Trust in 2005, Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust needed to comply with financial targets set by the Labour government. It had to 'overcome' a debt of £10 million while forking out more money on a private finance (PFI) deal to build a new entrance.
This was paid for with 160 job losses in 2006 on top of the 100 that had already been cut. But this 'successful' outcome for the Labour government and financial rulers proved to be a disaster for many patients.
Stafford Hospital is also 'saving' money by keeping its A&E closed at night and encouraging people to travel to the University Hospital of North Staffs which is between 40 minutes and an hour away.
Over 200 people signed our petition in just two hours, incensed at the way nurses, doctors and other hard-working staff at the hospital are being pilloried in the press and elsewhere.
TUSC in Stafford will be standing at least four candidates in May's local elections: Jim Reading, a teacher and NUT rep at a Stafford school, John, a Stafford NHS employee, Stafford disability activist Josie, and Scott Wilson, an ex-Labour Stafford councillor.
We will be standing against government and council cuts and privatisation, but also to defend Stafford hospital and its hard-working staff.
We will be fighting for:
- Stafford hospital to be fully funded by the NHS
- Adequate staffing levels to provide good quality care for all patients and the return of a 24-hour A&E department
- An end to Stafford's bullying management
- All NHS PFI deals and debt to be scrapped, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need
- Kick big business vultures out of the NHS
- Axe the Health and Social Care Act
- For a national trade union-led weekend demonstration to save the NHS
If you are interested in standing in Stafford as a TUSC candidate, want to help our campaign or just find out more call/text 07845 893 607.
In The Socialist 20 February 2013:
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