Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/453/5424
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Campaign defeats GP services sell-off
A LOCAL pensioner in Derbyshire, Pam Smith, has won her appeal to stop the US's biggest healthcare corporation from running her local GP surgery in the village of Langwith (for more details see the socialist 18-24 May 2006).
Jon Dale, Bolsover Socialist Party
Patients had not been properly consulted, said the appeal court judge, before North East Derbyshire primary care trust (PCT) gave the contract to provide Langwith's GP services to United Health Europe, the British division of the US multinational. The court ordered the PCT to start the tendering process from scratch, with full patient consultation.
This is a great victory for the people of Langwith. Everyone fighting NHS privatisation will share their joy.
It would not have happened without strong local displays of anger at the way the Primary Care Trust was trying to steamroller the community into accepting this giant American multinational as their provider of GP services.
Two public meetings were held at which hardly one person spoke in favour of the deal. The original Judicial Review decision - that the PCT had failed in its duty to consult local people, but that it would have made no difference if they had - was laughable.
But although the courts have backed local protesters this time, it would be a mistake for NHS campaigners to rely on them. More often than not, the judges will back business interests.
It's the strength of campaigns that counts - and they need to be linked up at national level to make them strong enough to defeat Labour's continuing onslaught.
Come to the Sheffield rally
FOUR THOUSAND in two days! That's the number of signatures staff from S2 ward have received whilst petitioning against the proposed ward closure at the Sheffield Childrens Hospital.
Jon Smith, GMB branch secretary, Sheffield Children's Hospital
I have had nothing but support from people regarding our rally and march on 9 September but we need more. The joint unions are calling on everyone opposed to NHS cuts to attend this march and rally.
Our battle at the Children's Trust (where management are cutting £9 million over three years) is the battle of all NHS trusts. £90 million cuts are proposed at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust! Today we must win back our NHS.
Demonstrate Saturday 9 September.
Assemble 10am Weston Park for march and rally at City Hall.
Leeds hospitals protest
TEN MEMBERS of Leeds Socialist Party staged a protest lobby of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust chief, Neil McKay, outside St James's hospital on 31 August.
Over the past three years, this Trust - which runs St James's and Leeds General Infirmary - has cut hundreds of posts, closed nine wards and axed many beds.
A regular flow of people coming off the buses came straight to our stall to sign the petition.
One nurse took our paper to show to her colleagues.
We were told we weren't allowed on the premises - of a public hospital!
We were then told we couldn't see Neil McKay as he wasn't there. So instead chief nurse Maureen Noughton was sent to receive the 3,000 signatures we'd collected on our petition, attacking their policy of privatisation and cuts.
We later found out from student nurses that Neil McKay was on their ward with a clip board.
This reinforces the common opinion that, while patients and staff are suffering, there are: "too many managers, too many management consultants and too many private companies bleeding the NHS dry."
Fighting NHSL sell-off
THE STORES and supplies service of the NHS has now been signed off to DHL/Novation. NHS Logistics is supposed to be run by these private companies from 1 October.
DHL claim of course that they will save the NHS £1 billion over the next ten years, without affecting the quality of the service.
The workforce is more sceptical and are balloting for strike action, the result of the ballot of UNISON's 750-plus members will be known after 11 September.
And UNISON has produced leaflets and posters in Polish to ensure every union member is encouraged to vote for action.
This is another chapter in New Labour's drive for privatisation at any cost.
They want to hive off an award-winning public service to a company like Novation who are already being investigated in the USA because of their procurement activities.
The Socialist Party says
- No to NHS job losses, cuts and closures.
- No to NHS privatisation and 'the market'. Rebuild the NHS as a publicly funded service free at the point of use, and with immediate cash to end the crisis of under-funding.
- Unite the many campaigns already existing to defend the NHS.
- The unions should name the day for a national weekday demonstration and industrial action against the attacks on the NHS jobs and services.
- Prepare for a one-day strike of NHS workers, with NHS staff deciding levels of emergency cover
- The health unions should stop giving money to New Labour, whose pro-market policies are destroying the NHS. Build the Campaign for a New Workers' Party.
In The Socialist 7 September 2006:
Socialist Party campaigns
War and terrorism
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news