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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2006

NHS protesters from London's Whipps Cross hospitalNHS

cuts... closures... privatisation...

We're fighting back!

Picture: NHS protesters from London's Whipps Cross hospital

ALL OVER greater Manchester, NHS managers are using dishonest slogans like "Making health better," "healthy futures" and "best for health" to ram through a savage cuts programme.

Christian Bunke, Manchester

The Pennine Acute Trust wants to cut jobs (up to 1,500 in North Manchester, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale) and services.

The Trust has a 21 million deficit. As is the case throughout the country this crisis - the result of chronic under-funding and the relentless drive to privatisation under both Tory and Labour governments - is now being passed on to patients who need vital services.

Some of the proposed cuts are just absurd. Baby and maternity care is under threat in Bury and Salford. In Wythenshawe, the premature baby unit is to be down-scaled. Staff tell Socialist Party members that they are outraged about it.

No wonder. In order to compensate for the beds slashed in Wythenshawe, management say they will use helicopters to fly babies all across greater Manchester to facilities in places like Oldham.

Local people are up in arms about this. While Socialist Party members leafleted in Wythenshawe for a public meeting to mobilise against the cuts, a group of young people took leaflets and window posters to distribute to their families and friends. "Save the baby unit," they shouted, as they marched off.

NHS managers are scared that their cuts agenda could face serious opposition. Where there has been resistance, they have been forced to back off. In Salford, plans to attack maternity services at Hope Hospital have gone very quiet because local people were outraged about this.

Cuts in Trafford were put on the back burner after a Socialist Party campaign there two years ago. In Wythenshawe, managers abandoned plans to shut the mental health unit because Socialist Party members led the fight to keep it open.

It gives a glimpse of what is possible if people all across greater Manchester unite to oppose all the cuts and demand a decent health service accessible to everyone.

The demonstration on 24 June is a good first step to achieve this. Protests and demonstrations like this have happened across the country in recent months and weeks. It is high time for the health workers' union UNISON to get into gear and organise a national demonstration against health cuts as demanded at UNISON health conference.


NHS feature: Fight the cuts in community services


Manchester Defend the NHS demonstration

11:30 a.m. Saturday 24 June

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In The Socialist 22 June 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS cuts... closures... privatisation... We're fighting back!

Fight the cuts in community services


Socialist Party youth and students

Fight Low Pay

Socialist Students receive standing ovation


Socialist Party feature

US 'empire' in crisis


Socialist Party campaigns

Community protests at trigger-happy policing

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Socialist Party workplace news

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