Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/417/4740
Don't let 'fat cats' axe our NHS
THE CHIEF executive of Huddersfield's two primary care trusts recently described local midwives as a "disgrace" for daring to oppose plans to centralise consultant-led maternity services from Huddersfield to Halifax!
Dr Jackie Grunsell
The "disgrace" is that he and the chief executive of the Calderdale and Huddersfield trust earned over £900,000 in the last year between them - enough to employ around 34 midwives for a year. Their combined salaries for five years would pay off the financial deficit that exists across the local health economy.
The so-called consultation meetings the trust bosses have called over the past weeks have been packed with people furious at what they see as a done deal. Our 'Save our NHS' campaign has been inundated by people wanting to get active.
Last Saturday over 1,000 people took part in our ballot, over 99% opposed the plans to transfer maternity, children's and surgical services out of Huddersfield. 98% also said they opposed privatisation and would prefer a publicly funded NHS.
One pensioner, who had never done anything like this before, has single-handedly collected over 1,000 signatures on petitions. Another told us how, in the nineteenth century, mill workers paid a penny of their ninepence weekly wage towards the building of the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
They have no intention of letting unelected managers take our hard-won services away now. Across the board, health workers and public are showing their determination to fight. Save our NHS posters and petitions have been circulated to every department of the hospital where, in some cases, staff don't know if they will have jobs under the proposals.
We are calling upon the council to call a referendum to get a true picture of public opinion and a demonstration is planned for early December.
A socialist programme for the NHS
End privatisation. Bring all healthcare into one nationally planned and properly financed, publicly-owned service.
Nationalise the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy chains and medical supply industry and integrate them into a democratically controlled NHS.
Abandon PFI, no more profiteering by building companies and banks.
Fund new hospital building programmes with public money, using direct labour.
Genuine democratic control of the NHS, involving the trade unions, patients, carers, and elected representatives. Senior managers should be accountable to elected bodies.
A minimum of £8 per hour and a 35-hour week for all health workers.
Free and accessible dental care for all. Abolish prescription charges.
Fight for a socialist society where poverty and inequality - the biggest killers and the greatest causes of ill-health - could become problems of the past.
In The Socialist 24 November 2005: