Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 27 March 2013

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

From 1 April, the Con-Dems Health and Social Care Act comes into force in England - ending the government's duty to provide comprehensive free healthcare and freeing the NHS from parliamentary control.

Primary care trusts will be replaced by 211 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that will decide who to treat, who provides the treatment and what is free at point of delivery. Private companies will bid for CCG contracts. With further NHS finance cuts ahead, we are likely to see the restriction of free care.

Already, under Tory, New Labour and Con-Dem governments, we have seen the privatisation of most non-medical and some medical services in the NHS, with horrifying results for both patients and health workers.

The trade union movement needs to organise a massive national campaign to fight these changes and all cuts and privatisation in the NHS.

The Socialist Party demands:

Wales NHS: Different government - worse cuts!

Claire Job, Socialist Party Wales

If you listened only to Labour politicians and many trade union leaders, you would think that cuts to the NHS are an English problem only.

These views have been repeated by the authors of The Plot Against The NHS, who herald the organisation of health services in Wales, under a Labour government, as a 'model of health delivery'.

It is true that there has been far less privatisation or use of PFI in healthcare in Wales. The NHS in Wales is more centralised and structured, organised into seven Health Boards instead of a multitude of trusts. But NHS campaigners in England waiting for a Labour government to save them would do well to take a closer look at the NHS in Wales.

NHS cuts are deeper in Wales. The NHS budget has been ring-fenced in England, with small annual increases, even though these represent a cut in real terms. The NHS in Wales has been given no such protection. Welsh Labour has actually chosen the NHS to bear the brunt of the cuts in Wales.

By 2014-15 spending on healthcare in Wales per head of population will be lower than in any other area of the UK. 1 billion has already been cut from the NHS Wales budget since 2005. Health boards are expected to make savings of nearly 300 million - roughly 5% of their annual budgets - each year.

Just like the Con-Dems in England, the Welsh Labour government attempts to disguise cuts as a reorganisation in the best interests of patients.

Labour commissioned a report from supposedly independent expert Marcus Longley, a Cardiff-based health economist. From the start there were suspicions that Longley and the Welsh Government were colluding to 'sex-up' the report to point to conclusions that they had already arrived at and justify cuts.


Longley's report and the Welsh Government report argue for centralisation of services. What this means for Accident and Emergency services, for instance, is that services will be downgraded in all but a small number of specialist centres. Just four or five centres are proposed for two million people across South Wales.

In the context of shrinking budgets, centralisation is not modernisation, as Labour claims, but a cover for massive cuts.

What these proposals mean is massively reduced access to healthcare for large sections of society, including anybody without their own transport, the elderly, disabled people and some of the poorest communities in the regions who will often have the furthest to travel to access services.

Public transport in Wales, even in the biggest towns, is appalling, made worse by Welsh Government and council cuts - infrequent, unreliable and expensive. In some areas, even just outside bigger towns, it is almost non-existent at weekends and evenings.

Meanwhile the Welsh Ambulance service is failing to meet response targets because of staff shortages and cuts.

In autumn 2012 there was the shocking story that a baby died after waiting hours for an ambulance to be transferred to another hospital. This sort of story may become increasingly common if these cuts go through.

In polls, three-quarters of Welsh people have indicated that they do not support Welsh Labour's plans. Already this year there have been demonstrations to defend health services in Wrexham, Llandudno, Tenby, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caerphilly and Bridgend.

These are the people with the faith in the NHS to fight for its survival as a service for all. We need to join together to fight all Welsh Labour's cuts.

Kick out the PFI leeches

In 2010 George Osborne described Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deals as "discredited". Now his discredited government has signed off its first PFI hospital.

Alder Hay children's hospital in Liverpool will be rebuilt under a 30-year PFI deal. The consortium includes John Laing, which is also part of the PFI deal that pushed South London Healthcare NHS Trust into administration

PFI deals are like taking out a high-interest mortgage, but then the lender owns the house at the end of the loan. In South London, and across the NHS, cuts have been made in order to pay for 'non-negotiable' PFI repayments.

All NHS PFI deals and debt should be scrapped, with compensation paid only on the basis of proven need.

Whipps Cross domestics show how fighting back can win

A Whipps Cross Hospital worker

Thirty three Whipps Cross Hospital domestics in east London have successfully resisted attempts by private contractor Initial to cut their hours and pay. Three full-time workers remain at risk.

The overwhelmingly female, part-time workers have fought a determined struggle following the fighting campaign strategy of the local Unison union branch leadership.

On 21 January, the company announced to these mainly migrant workers a 30-day consultation with plans to cut working hours by 30 minutes per shift. This represented a reduction in earnings of one-sixth for these low-paid workers who undertake mainly three-hour shifts.

The proposals represent 'phase one' and the 'Initial steps' of the company's plans across the whole 320-strong hospital workforce, including porters, as part of parent company Rentokil Initial's national 'LEAN' initiative.

The Unison branch secretary Len Hockey and Initial shop stewards agreed a programme of meetings, firstly with the 36 affected staff and then with the entire Initial union membership. The strategy involved a recruitment drive that targeted zero-hour contract workers.

A broad all-encompassing campaign was initiated with the agreement of the 36. No stone was left unturned in getting the message out to the wider hospital workforce and trade unions.

Since 1 February, five Initial Unison meetings have been held with a total of 220 members attending. A press release, which forced the company to publicly defend its plans, and petitions were issued.

A very lively weekday evening rally at the hospital main gate attracted 70 domestics and porters. Workers and trade unionists from within and outside the hospital addressed the rally, including Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigners.

There has been an increase of over 10% in union membership among the Initial workforce. A survey of the entire Initial Unison membership has returned a 99% vote in favour of being balloted for strike action to stop the plans. Only one management consultation meeting with the staff has happened since 21 January due to pressure of the union's campaign.

Initial claims the decision to not cut the 33's hours is due to local Trust management-initiated changes affecting their timings. The cuts threat remains for the three full-time staff and the consultation can be restarted any time.

The union is demanding to know how many cuts 'phases' there are and continues to press for the complete withdrawal of management's crazy plans. Our strike ballot request is lodged with Unison Greater London Region.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 27 March 2013:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Bin the bedroom tax: Can't pay - Will stay!

NUT conference: Serious attacks require serious action

Cameron whips up immigration fears to divide movement against austerity

What does the budget really mean for the housing crisis?

Fight the destruction of our NHS across England and Wales

The 'workfare bill' and sanctions targets

Them & Us: Budget special

International socialist news and analysis

Cyprus bailout: Return of the eurozone crisis

South Africa: Workers and Socialist Party Launched

Socialist Party workplace news

PCS budget day strike - M20

Thera care workers prepare for action

Striking against the 'fast track to the sack'

Workplace News in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Sussex university occupation: 'they say privatise - we fight back and organise'

Why we're standing for TUSC

Sick of Your Boss gets going in London

Fighting the cuts: Birmingham and Exeter

Socialist Party appeals

The Socialist: readers' comments

Disability hate crimes - accomplices and victims

Danger: New secret courts in Britain


Home   |   The Socialist 27 March 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleNasty party out the Tories

triangleCarlisle NHS campaigners hand in petition to MP

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleToo much to cross the Mersey

triangleTories wreck our NHS


triangleCardiff Socialist Students confront 'Parasite' Jacob Rees-Mogg

triangleWarts-and-all account of class war and the struggle for LGBT+ rights

triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleCrunchy guitar and poignant dialogue in alt-rock homage to south Wales miners

Whipps Cross:

triangleUnison attacks Barts deal after failing to ballot their members for strike action

triangleDeal concludes Barts health strike - "We have raised our heads high"

triangleThree London strikes coordinate demos


triangleSalford Unison condemns pay cuts

triangleWorkplace news in brief


triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts


triangleChatsworth ward campaign replies to Tory MP's intervention


trianglePlans to bring A-levels back to Knowsley abandoned


triangleThe fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity


triangleCWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



The end of the Tories?



Nasty party out the Tories


Black history

The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against capitalist austerity



Housing crisis: Corbyn's positive measures blanked by Labour's right


Universal Credit

Major attacks 'Universal Credit', half a million more face poverty


Them & Us

Them & Us



NHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts



IMF helps cause inequality it slams



Tories wreck our NHS



Monarch abdicates responsibility to workers



Capitalism and human progress



Bending the knee v Trump



The Tories must be driven out



Labour Party conference: Action against establishment sabotage still needed



Anti-austerity opposition needed to seize on Tories' weakness

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice