Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/438/5180
Swansea ballot shows depth of support for NHS
SWANSEA SOCIALIST Party members, campaigning against the loss of hospital beds, say the public are on our side after an informal ballot held in the city centre on 29 April.
We staged the ballot at our regular Saturday stall in Oxford Street and passing shoppers gave a massive 'no' to the plans of Swansea Local Health Board and Swansea NHS Trust.
The ballot paper asked; a) do you agree with the proposal to shut Fairwood Hospital? b) Do you agree with the proposal to close Ward 1 at Hill House? And then c) Do you agree with the proposal to get rid of 230 beds in Swansea NHS Trust?
After an hour and a half, the votes were; a) Yes 1, No 177. For b) it was Yes 1, No 178. And for c) it was Yes 2, No 179.
Dave Warren, one of the ballot organisers, said: "I attended the official consultation meeting and managers from the Local Health Board were trying to make out the people of Swansea were happy with what they are doing.
"We wanted to show what people really think. If all the people of Swansea were asked their opinions, the opposition to ward and hospital closures would be overwhelming."
Stop ward cuts and closures
AS PART of our local election campaign the Socialist Party held a meeting in Telegraph Hill ward in Lewisham to discuss the crisis in the NHS, in particular cuts at Lewisham Hospital, where three wards are to close because of a budget deficit.
One of our councillors, Ian Page, told the meeting that hospitals were subject to a "star rating" assessment, as were other public services. This gave greatest weight to financial profitability.
Hospitals were penalised for failing to meet financial targets and waiting time targets. They were forced to hive off 15% of elective surgery to the private sector. In Queen Charlotte's Hospital, pregnant women have been asked £4,000 for a midwife throughout their labour.
The pharmaceutical industry is a major contributor to the NHS's costs. The ten leading pharmaceutical companies made as much profit as the other 490 largest companies put together. They spend 21ŕ2 times as much on marketing as they do on research and development.
Socialist councillors Chris Flood and Ian Page put a motion to Lewisham council in March saying the government should fund the deficit but none of the other parties supported it.
However, because the hospital cuts were becoming an election issue, Labour councillor Peggy Fitzsimmons called a committee meeting at short notice for 24 April.
In The Socialist 4 May 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party workplace news
1926 General Strike
International socialist news and analysis