Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/776/17226

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 August 2013

Save our NHS:

Hunt attacks NHS staff and patients...

Jackie Grunsell
Unison staff at Pinderfields hospital strike, photo Iain Dalton

Unison staff at Pinderfields hospital strike, photo Iain Dalton   (Click to enlarge)

Patient groups and health workers' organisations are shocked by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt's recent statement that to set minimum staffing levels for hospitals would be 'artificial' and may jeopardise the need to 'protect NHS budgets'.

We are now seven months on from the Francis report, the independent review into high death rates at the Mid Staffordshire Foundation NHS trust. In it QC Robert Francis drew the conclusion that chronic staffing shortages had contributed to problems at the trust. So he called for the setting of minimum legal staffing levels, among other recommendations.

Increase staffing levels

Since then we've had two more reports on quality and safety in the NHS. Firstly the review by Bruce Keogh into practices at 14 more trusts where there were concerns. This review's findings showed that insufficient nursing staff levels or an inadequate 'skill mix' was a factor in causing poor quality of care in some of the trusts.

Now the Berwick report backs recommendations to improve staff numbers. Berwick suggests that NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) develops a formula to calculate safe staff-to-patient ratios on a ward by ward basis.

Increases to staffing levels are supported by health workers. As the British Medical Journal reported, nurses say they feel forced to 'ration' care due to overwhelming pressures on their time. The Royal College of Nursing says: "Poor care needs to be prevented by making sure wards are well staffed. It must not be used as an early warning sign".

Bureaucracy?

It seems even the 'late warning signs' of high death rates, malnourished patients left in soiled beds and worsening pressures sores aren't enough for Jeremy Hunt. Of course to admit that staffing levels urgently need increasing would be to admit the Coalition government's attacks on the health service have been and still are wrong.

Since the Con-Dems came to power almost 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost in the NHS. There are plans for a further 4% cut between 2014 and 2016. Hunt would have to admit that his government's underfunding of the NHS means hospitals use lower paid and less well or untrained health care assistants to do the jobs of nurses or even doctors in some cases.

Yet Hunt dismisses calls for registration of HCAs as 'bureaucratic'. If anything the ongoing privatisation of health services that this government heralds as the solution, diverts money away from front line care into the pockets of big health corporations.

To a dehydrated patient needing a drip there's nothing 'artificial' about having a nurse available to do it now rather than in four hours. There's nothing 'bureaucratic' about a staff member with the time to talk to you after being told you've got cancer rather than having to rush off to the next job.

Hunt should try living in the real world where the majority agree patient care should come before profits. The NHS needs investment urgently now, to recruit more well trained staff and stop any more Mid Staffordshire like tragedies in the future.

The Socialist Party calls for a democratically run NHS where patients and staff could come together to decide what level of staffing is needed not just as a minimum but to enable the dignity and quality of care we deserve.


...but mass action beats him

Roger Shrives

In Lewisham in south London, triumphant health campaigners' posters announce: "We've won! Justice for Lewisham Hospital." Local people are celebrating a famous victory.

This January health secretary Hunt tried to downgrade Lewisham hospital's accident and emergency departments and its high risk obstetric department. On 31 July a high court judge ruled that Hunt did not have such legal powers.

This was a victory for organised opposition to NHS cutbacks. Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign organised huge marches of 10,000+ last November and of 25,000 in January against this attack on a successful and popular hospital.

NHS campaigners know that this isn't the end of the fight. The government attacked Lewisham as part of a plan to savage spending at the South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) even though Lewisham is not part of SLHT.

That's one reason why the judge ruled Hunt had acted illegally.

But hospitals within SLHT are still in danger from massive cuts. And as around Britain, the main culprits are government-imposed 'reforms'. SLHT is awash with Private Finance Initiative (PFI) debts. In 2011/2012 interest payments on the 65 million deficit amounted to 6.5% of total spending. PFI spending is growing - predicted to be up to 356 million in SLHT by the end of the year.

Who will pay for this? Vital services and workers' wages, if the government and top management have their way. We will need to build a community and trade union led campaign to stop their planned carnage.

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


In The Socialist 14 August 2013:


Socialist Party campaigns

Zero tolerance for zero-hours!

End zero-hour contracts now!


Socialist Party editorial

A tale of two Britains


Socialist Party news and analysis

Beware a recovery!

Met finally apologise for G20 death

London Olympics legacy - one year on

Football and big business: time to reclaim the game

Socialist Party subs appeal

Them & Us


Socialist Party events

Come to the Socialist Party Summer Camp


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Hunt attacks NHS staff and patients

Save Our Hospital!

Protest at the Tory Conference in Manchester


International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia: Mobilise to bring down the government

South Africa: Limpopo WASP launch

Seattle: Socialist challenge to corporate Democrats


Socialist Party workplace news

Defend the Four: Tribunal compensation award to Unison activists

Postal workers ballot for action

On your bike, Serco

Swansea council pay attacks angers workers


Anti-Bedroom Tax

Winning a reprieve from the bedroom tax


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in Caerphilly


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Reflections and sycophancy: Kinnock versus the socialist Liverpool council

The Mill: A change from the usual TV

Successes, failures and stalemates: A week in the life of a trade union rep


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 August 2013   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

NHS:

triangleLobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

triangleNHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangleDemonstration: NHS in crisis - fix it now!

triangleClosure of Nottingham unit shows dismantling of NHS

triangleSustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

Health:

triangleTory prescription for mental illness: stress and bureaucracy

triangleNHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

triangleHeart unit rescued by campaigning saves baby with pioneering surgery

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

Lewisham:

triangleSchools and teaching: A perfect storm of cuts, underfunding, excessive workloads and low pay

triangleLewisham 1977: When socialists and workers defeated the far-right National Front

triangle'Ana Key MP' - Socialist artist responds to attacks

Government:

triangleTunisia: explosion of protests against government austerity

triangleUndercover policing legal challenge

Doctors:

triangleNHS cuts kill!

Jackie Grunsell:

triangleSustainability and Transformation plans - a repackaging of cuts

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/1/18

Labour

Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

17/1/18

Trump

Victory! Trump's UK visit cancelled by fear of protests

17/1/18

NHS

NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

15/1/18

Carillion

Carillion crisis: demand action to save jobs and services

10/1/18

Tories

Cabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

10/1/18

NHS

Sustained mass movement needed to stop Tories wrecking our NHS

10/1/18

Education

Bigot Toby Young quits - now scrap the new uni regulator driving privatisation

10/1/18

Them & Us

Them & Us

10/1/18

Teachers

Teacher recruitment falls by a third - cut workload, not funding

3/1/18

Fire service

Fire service victory

3/1/18

Fares

Rail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

3/1/18

Higher Education

Mobilise against rip-off executive pay

3/1/18

Virgin

NHS in winter crisis as Branson creams off 1bn

3/1/18

Homes

Thousands live in tents and sheds - seize empty homes

3/1/18

Fat cats

Widening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


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

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle23 Jan Bristol North Socialist Party: 'You can't have capitalism without racism' - was Malcolm X correct?

triangle23 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: How the Poll Tax was beaten

triangle24 Jan Caerphilly Socialist Party: The Carillion scandal

triangle24 Jan Cardiff Central Socialist Party: Carillion collapse - Watershed moment for public services

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2