Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5553
Campaign to stop Hewitt's cuts
NEW LABOUR Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is telling people not to worry about the National Health Service. She says that threats to close down hospitals, wards, sack staff and privatise large parts of the NHS are not cuts and that the service is still run on the "values of the old health service" - "We are not privatising or marketising the NHS," she claimed.
Few NHS staff would agree. At Nottingham City Hospital, part of the merged Nottingham University Hospital Trust, 1,200 jobs are threatened. A nurse there, speaking anonymously for fear of victimisation, told JEAN THORPE of Nottingham Socialist Party, that things had never been so bad at the hospital - even when Thatcher was prime minister.
"We're facing massive job losses, bed and ward closures. Morale is rock-bottom and staff are having to compete against their colleagues for jobs. When Patricia Hewitt visited the hospital last week, the roads on the hospital campus were swept and cleaned up.
"That infuriates me when there aren't enough staff to clean the wards! I was one of the staff picked to hear Hewitt speak. I asked how she could guarantee quality patient care with these job losses - she could not answer.
"A patient slipped past security into the meeting. When he put his hand up to ask a question, he was told there was no more time. The meeting demanded he should speak but again Hewitt couldn't answer his question.
"I don't know the full extent of the cuts but I have heard that a respiratory ward is up for closure and half the senior staff jobs in the respiratory directorate, plus half the beds in a health care for the elderly ward.
"What is also disgusting is the proposed change in pay protection. Currently staff at City Hospital get five years' pay protection and three years at Queen's Medical Centre. One proposal from management is that pay protection is reduced to three months!
"We are doing all we can to build for Saturday's march which, if that doesn't defeat the cuts, will just be the first step in a campaign to stop these plans."
In The Socialist 21 September 2006:
War and occupation
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Youth and Education
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis