Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/390/4418
Leicester NHS phone in - socialists v. the rest
GETTING PRESS publicity in election campaigns can be very frustrating, since the Socialist Party largely gets cut out of the media.
Steve Score, Socialist Party candidate Leicester West
But last week I got on a live radio debate with candidates from the three main parties, which took phone-in calls from the public. The topic was the NHS.
From the start the Socialist Party set the agenda. The first question was on MRSA, the hospital "superbug". I pointed out the drop in the number of cleaners from 100,000 in 1984 to 55,000 today. This is the direct result of privatisation - cutting costs to boost profits.
Arrogant Tory MP, Alan Duncan, interrupted, trying to throw me off by saying: "There is no evidence that more infections occur in hospitals where there are private cleaners compared to the in-house cleaners".
I said that the problem was the contracting out process. To get the contract even an in-house cleaner would have to put in the cheapest bid, inevitably having to cut costs.
New Labour candidate Peter Soulsby, former council leader, tried to blame the Tories for contracting out cleaning.
But Alan Duncan correctly asked: "If Labour thought it was wrong, why didn't you reverse it then?" I made it clear that not one of the parties would reverse privatisation.
When Soulsby said: "Labour are investing £760 million in Leicester's hospitals," I pointed out that this was a Private Finance Initiative scheme. The tax payer will be laying out £2.8 billion for the scheme. Massive profits made by the company that will own all the hospital buildings and employ most of the non-clinical staff will be stolen from health care.
At this point the Tories and Labour formed a united front against me in defence of PFI, showing up the common agenda of all the main parties!
In The Socialist 28 April 2005: