Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/474/2068
Fighting back against NHS cuts
WILTSHIRE PRIMARY Care Trust (PCT) recently announced they would close three local community hospitals and two maternity units. This would effectively signal the end of comprehensive NHS care in the area.
Roger Davey, UNISON steward, personal capacity
Over the next 18 months the PCT plans to close hospitals in Devizes, Melksham and Trowbridge and halve the number of beds in Chippenham. In addition they intend to close three minor injury units, (downgraded casualties), as well as making other service cuts.
The PCT which also buys in health care on the public's behalf says it will significantly reduce its commissioning budget. This will trigger further cuts, particularly in the acute sector and mental health.
Incredibly, within a week of this decision one of the condemned hospitals in Melksham was told to open extra beds because the acute hospital in Bath, the RUH, was on "red alert" i.e. dangerously short of beds!
The PCT's decision will cause compulsory redundancies throughout Wiltshire. Despite repeated requests from UNISON, the PCT refuses to provide any figures. However, whatever the exact number, UNISON, with local people's support is determined to fight these cuts. We are consulting members with a view to initiate a ballot for industrial action.
Behind all these closures and cutbacks is the government's determination to dismantle and privatise the NHS. So far, ordinary working-class people have shown that they are equally determined to fight back as the huge local campaigns up and down the country show.
What is desperately needed now is action to co-ordinate all these campaigns. This must begin with a national demonstration, which would mark a decisive turn in the struggle to save the NHS.
WHILE NHS services are contracting, City management consultancy firms that advise health trusts on where to wield the axe have made a small fortune. In London, hospitals and primary care trusts have spent over £6 million this year on these 'turnaround teams'.
Whipps Cross hospital in east London (where wards have been closed and hundreds of jobs marked for cutting) spent £200,000 on its 'turnaround team' resulting in 'unknown' forecast savings. Only a government in denial can call this practice 'value for money'.
In The Socialist 15 February 2007:
Campaign for a New Workers Party
War and terrorism
Socialist Party feature
Bird flu outbreak
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news
Workplace news and analysis