Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/434/5108
Labour axes 5,000+ NHS jobs
'We're fighting back'
NHS 'BUTCHER' Patricia Hewitt was forced to meet with 12 representatives of the North Staffs NHS SOS campaign at the University Hospital North Staffs on 4 April. Unbelievably, health secretary Hewitt said that hospital staff are treating "too many patients and spending too much money".
Andy Bentley, Stoke Socialist Party
She wants to sack 1,200 NHS staff, scrap 160 beds and introduce conveyor belt medical care to speed up patient recovery time. Clearly, she would prefer that tax payers pay trained nurses, consultants and other NHS workers to stay at home instead of treating people who are sick.
In the meeting Hewittt gave a typically smarmy performance telling us why these changes were necessary and vital to the future of the NHS. But behind her arrogance is a fear that New Labour's attempted butchery of the NHS is provoking mass opposition not just in North Staffs but throughout Britain.
We told her that if the attacks on the NHS are not scrapped then she will face a growing campaign against her plans not just locally but nationally.
In Stoke this will begin with a mass march against NHS job losses, cuts and closures on Saturday 29 April.
The government is becoming increasingly worried by the response to the NHS jobs slaughter and cuts in services caused by their drive for a competitive "market" and privatisation.
After the meeting Hewitt swept through the phalanx of news reporters without comment. Perhaps she was going to visit the ophthalmic theatre which was re-opened that morning after being mothballed for 18 months.
But we don't think she went to see the A&E department where one day last week 20 patients were waiting hours for beds after being admitted.
All the campaigners against these government attacks left the meeting even more determined to build a mass campaign to defend our NHS.
March to defend the NHS
Saturday 29 April - 11 am
from Outpatients Dept. University Hospital,
No to job losses, cuts and closures
No to privatisation and 'the market'
Unite the many campaigns to defend the NHS.
Demand the unions call a national demonstration
Rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded and provided service free at the point of use.
In The Socialist 6 April 2006: