Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/468/1938
Merthyr fights Labour's 'designs'
SOCIALIST PARTY members in Cardiff and Taff Vale have been campaigning against NHS cutbacks in Merthyr Tydfil where people are angry at the Welsh Assembly's proposals to 'rationalise', ie cut, vital services at the local Prince Charles hospital and Royal Glamorgan hospital in Llantrisant.
Joe Fathallah Cardiff
This will entail closing at least one of the Accident and Emergency (A&E) units, which will mean many people having to travel extremely long distances to access overworked emergency services.
These cuts are part of the Design for Life strategy forced through the Assembly by Welsh Labour, which claims to be to the left of Blair's party but is much the same in deeds. The strategy aims to avoid 'duplication' and emphasises 'care in the community', but ignores the need for communities to have access to appropriate hospital services locally - hence the closure of the A&E.
The mood exists for a fightback, both against these cuts and against the wider strategy. But we will need a campaign involving those from both areas to defend both hospitals, to cut across some politicians' attempts to play off one hospital against the other.
Huw Lewis, Merthyr's Assembly member, voted for 'Design for Life', but objects to cuts in the Prince Charles. Of course, he says nothing about the threat to the Royal Glamorgan! But this does not reflect the mood on the streets.
Working-class people see that the whole NHS is under threat from cutbacks and privatisation, and we must now build a united campaign to defeat the closures and the wider attempts to run down the health service.
AS PART of the 15 December day of action, health campaigners organised a protest against the continued suspension from work of Dr Raj Mattu, a heart consultant who spoke out against conditions at Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital.
The Reinstate Raj Mattu campaign were joined by members of the Socialist Party, Indian Workers Association (GB), and other campaign groups. Socialist Party members distributed leaflets supporting a national demonstration on 3 March. In the closing speeches, Coventry Socialist Party Councillor Dave Nellist's call for a national demonstration was warmly received.
ON 15 December, Socialist Party members joined members of the Save Huddersfield NHS campaign in protesting and leafleting outside Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. This hospital is facing cuts in addition to the closure and transfer of services from other hospitals in Huddersfield.
TOWER HAMLETS Keep Our NHS Public (KONHSP) organised a candlelit vigil outside Royal London Hospital. 30 supporters including health workers gathered to protest at the cuts and privatisation within the NHS.
Royal London Hospital is part of Barts and The London NHS Trust, a PFI flagship costing £1.2 billion. This PFI build, when complete, will have three floors closed as the Trust cannot afford to run them.
New Year for staff means the announcement of redundancies, with other plans for the Trust including the outsourcing of secretarial work, joining the other already privatised services such as laundry, domestic, portering, catering and telephony.
We need to turn this solidarity and anger into action and for all to join a national 3 March demonstration to defend our NHS.
In The Socialist 4 January 2007:
Transport deregulation rip-off
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party Marxist analysis
War and terrorism
Violence against women
Socialist Party workplace news