Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/437/5162
Stop the cuts and jobs slaughter
PATRICIA HEWITT, Blair's health secretary, claims the National Health Service is having its "best year ever." Millions of people think she's talking total rubbish! Labour's attacks on the NHS are making hospital trusts all over the country threaten to sack workers, cut beds and close hospitals or wards.
Andy Bentley, Stoke-on-Trent Socialist Party
These attacks are part of the government's plan to prepare the NHS for privatisation. Blair's rich friends in big business are circling like vultures waiting to be given the most profitable parts.
But Blair and Pat 'Butcher' Hewitt underestimate the deep-seated support for the NHS among ordinary people. They think we're stupid. They tell us they have given £ billions to the NHS but much of this money is going to private treatment centres, drug companies and construction companies' swollen bank accounts.
The new hospital being built in Stoke-on-Trent will cost £410 million to build. But the NHS will pay a staggering £1.5 billion over 30 years to pay for it!
On 29 April in Stoke, thousands will support the march against the University Hospital of North Staffs (UHNS) plans to sack 1,200 NHS staff and destroy 160 beds. The march and rally has been organised by the North Staffs NHS - SOS campaign set up only weeks ago with a leading role played by Socialist Party members including Socialist councillors Dave and Paul Sutton.
UHNS boss, Antony Sumara, says these cuts won't affect patient care. But already staff who leave are not being replaced which is placing a massive strain on the other staff.
This march will be an important step in mobilising opposition to the government's plans but by itself it is unlikely to be enough. NHS workers and working people across Britain should demand that the union organise a national demonstration as soon as possible to link up all the NHS defence campaigns around the country.
Determined action can defeat the government's plans. Just the threat of strike action forced the government to back down over plans to increase millions of public-sector workers' retirement age from 60 to 65.
UNISON and other health unions should organise immediately and prepare for strike action. NHS workers should only work their contractual hours to show how hospitals are being run on the goodwill of an overstretched staff.
- All trade union members should demand that no more money is handed over to a Labour Party that attacks workers' jobs, pay and conditions all over Britain. This money should be used instead to build a new party that represents ordinary working people.
- No to NHS job losses, cuts and closures.
- No to privatisation and 'the market'.
- New hospitals to be built with public funding not for private profit.
- Unite the many campaigns to defend the NHS - demand the unions call a national demonstration.
- Prepare for a one day strike of NHS workers - with NHS staff deciding emergency cover.
- Rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded service, free at the point of use.
- No more money to Labour - it's time for a new workers' party.
March to defend the NHS
Saturday 29 April - from 11 am
In The Socialist 27 April 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party election campaign
1926 General Strike
Environment: Nuclear power
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis