Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/755/16278
Stop cuts and privatisation, to save our NHS!
Josie Shelley, Stafford Socialist Party
I read with anger, on Thursday 28 February, that another nail is being driven into Stafford Hospital's coffin with administrators being brought in to oversee its day-to-day running.
This decision has been taken by Monitor - the 'independent' watchdog for Foundation Trust hospitals.
The disaster at Mid-Staffordshire NHS is due to both Labour and Con-Dem governments' underfunding.
Already understaffed, the trust achieved foundation status by making 'savings' of around £10 million in 2006-7.
Many, if not most, of the 492 deaths at the trust between 2005 and 2008 were avoidable.
Chronic staff shortages left unattended patients in dire conditions, lying in soiled sheets, uncleaned faeces and vomit. Workers tried to speak out but were stopped by bullying management.
Today, as well as scrapping the night time A&E service for the last 15 months, the hospital has been labelled as 'unsustainable' in its present form. I dread to think what 'special administrative measures' would make it 'sustainable'!
According to local press reports, administrators will be looking at the financial viability of various services. There is a possibility that the Foundation Trust will be axed or privatised.
There are promises of public consultations before any final decisions are taken - but I for one don't hold out much hope of our voices being listened to at the consultations when it comes to 'sustainability'.
Jeremy Lefroy, MP for Stafford, has been quoted in the Stafford Newsletter as being "very disappointed" at the decision!
I think I can safely say that the people of Stafford, Cannock, Rugeley and across Staffordshire are not disappointed, they are absolutely livid!
When the overnight A&E closed we were told that it would only be temporary while they 'ironed out' some problems. But so far it has not reopened.
No wonder people are very anxious about what other services will be lost and the distances they will have to travel to access healthcare or visit loved ones.
The need to fight for our NHS has never been more urgent. Stafford Socialist Party is campaigning to defend Stafford Hospital, linked to defending the NHS nationally.
The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) will be standing candidates to defend Stafford Hospital in May's local elections.
- All hospitals 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 bullying management in the NHS
- 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 mass national trade union-led weekend demonstration to save the NHS
New Labour's foundations for failure
Mid-Staffordshire NHS is the first Foundation Trust to go into administration.
Foundation Trusts were a flagship policy of health secretary Alan Milburn in Tony Blair's New Labour government.
They are a halfway-house between public and private sector hospitals - one of Labour's 'reforms' that opened the way up for the Con-Dems' Health and Social Care Act which, if not stopped, will do away with the NHS as we know it.
Foundation Trusts have borrowing powers and other financial powers unavailable to other NHS hospitals.
They undergo fewer inspections. These were supposed to be benefits. Instead, becoming a Foundation Trust in 2007 worsened the medical and financial problems at Mid-Staffs.
In The Socialist 7 March 2013:
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