Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 May 2008

NHS under threat

Urgent union action needed

JUST WEEKS before the 60th anniversary of the National Health Service, government plans to reorganise and privatise it could mean the end of a health service that is publicly owned and free at the point of use.

Lois Austin
On the

Lord Darzi did not listen to protestors on the 'Save the NHS' march, 3 November 2007. Photo Paul Mattsson

Now the local elections are out of the way, Lord Darzi, the surgeon appointed by the government to carry through the latest changes, has received the go-ahead to further dismantle the NHS. Health workers are shocked by the news that there is a 'Darzi plan' for every region, not just London.

Darzi tells us: "Patients will be involved in decisions and hospital units would not close before new ones opened". This is untrue. So-called consultations, held in shopping centres and town halls around the country, have been a sham - held mostly during the day when people are in work and with misleading questions devised to get the 'right' answers. And the emergency clinic at the Maudsley in south London was closed with no adequate alternative arrangements put in its place.

Darzi also tells us: "In none of these documents does it say we will be closing A&E departments or maternity services". But that's only because they are doing it or have done it already.

He may want to make his proposals more palatable reading for clinicians he is trying to win over, but Darzi's purpose is to centralise services into 'super-hospitals' and specialist centres. That means local hospitals and units will close, leaving patients and their families travelling miles to access care.

These plans to 'reorganise' the NHS are about saving money and privatisation. Polyclinics, which will merge GP surgeries with other services currently carried out at local hospitals and clinics, will be owned and run by the private sector. Private companies like Virgin are already trying to get their greedy hands on the contracts.

It's laughable for Darzi to say that if a local community doesn't want change it won't happen. Plans for south-east London include closing the maternity unit and paediatrics at Queen Mary's in Sidcup or similar cuts at other local hospitals.

Local people are up in arms, don't want it and have marched in their thousands to stop it. Who is listening to them? Certainly not Lord Darzi!

Unfortunately, though, one organisation is listening and that's Bexley Conservatives. They have led the campaign to save St Mary's, which led to Bexley and Bromley constituency having the second highest voter turnout for the London elections and a huge vote for Boris Johnson.

Yet the Tories' health agenda, like New Labour's, is cuts and privatisation. More of these fair-weather Tory 'friends' of the NHS could be elected on the back of NHS campaigns unless the trade unions urgently start fighting the cuts, alongside local users.

The health trade unions have plenty of reasons to fight, including against an insulting below-inflation pay award and to stop cuts to staff numbers.

Darzi tells us his plans will be better for patients with long-term conditions like asthma and diabetes. Someone needs to tell him that making redundant 8,000 specialist nurses, working in this important area, or downgrading the posts of thousands of others, (cuts which are currently being threatened), is not the way to do it!

We need to mark the NHS' 60th anniversary with a renewed struggle to save it, led by the trade unions. Don't let the Tories hijack 'Save our hospital' campaigns. Let's stop Darzi in his tracks.

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

In The Socialist 14 May 2008:

NHS under threat

Unison witch-hunt

Unison witch-hunt: Rory Bremner and Mark Thomas speak out

Anti-racists protest at Unison witch hunt

Unison witch-hunt: Defend the four lobby of hearing

International socialist news and analysis

Burma cyclone disaster: Wealth and privilege put before aid

60 year anniversary of Israel: Can there be a resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict?

Scottish National Party: One year in power - but little for workers to celebrate

Global capitalist crisis: Confidence in a socialist future

Socialist Party women

Defend and extend abortion rights

Ladyfest: culture, politics and women

Socialist Party news and analysis

What will Boris Johnson mean for London?

Campaign for a new workers' party: conference 2008

Price rises hit workers

Don't evict Ricky Jones!

The BNP have no solutions...and no clue!

Sussex students uphold 'no platform'

Students 'study-in' in Manchester

Opposing cutbacks in Lincolnshire

Why Labour lost Bury

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Left wins in PCS executive elections

North west shop stewards

Saturday 28 June 11.30am-4.30pm

Wales TUC: Right wing attack on democracy

Socialist fighter honoured by lecturers' union

Socialist Party review

Review: 'Marx in London' by Asa Briggs and John Callow


Home   |   The Socialist 14 May 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleSave our NHS

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTyneside walk-in closures postponed after rally


triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

triangleTyneside to protest against A&E and walk-in cuts

triangleNHS cuts kill!


triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleNewham anti-academies strikes

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting


triangleSave Glenfield Children's Heart Centre! Save our NHS!

triangleChatsworth neuro-rehab ward still open - unions join the campaign

Trade unions:

triangleLabour 'purge' furore really just democracy

Boris Johnson:

triangleTories on the brink - kick them out!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell



Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos



Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts



Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated



Bradford campaign to save children's services launched


South London

South London health bosses' cover-up



Unite day of action against blacklisting



Brighton victory



Newham anti-academies strikes


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting



Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout



Unite protest against blacklisting



Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee


Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain



Arriva bus strikers stand firm

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangle12 Dec Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

More ...

triangle14 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Universal Credit - the Tories' latest assault on the poor

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

More ...

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



December 2017

November 2017

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