Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/185/8017
Health Crisis Deepens
NEW LABOUR claims to have spent billions on solving the crisis in the NHS. In particular, it says it's spent £150 million to deal with coming winter pressures. But still there's talk of yet another winter crisis. Why?
There's no physical shortage of beds - the government has purchased thousands of extra beds and they claim the hospital space is there too.
The shocking truth is there isn't enough staff to attend to the patients who would occupy these beds.
The lack of nurses stems from the appalling low pay and conditions they have endured in the NHS for decades. Still the government shows no real signs of tackling that problem.
It's quite prepared to waste £20 million out of its allocated £150 million on deals with the parasitic private sector to provide emergency beds.
The root cause of the NHS crisis is the, a decent pay rise.
Last year the UK Central Council for Nursing government will not give lower-paid healthworkers, including ancillary, clerical and nursing staff said over 5,000 nursing jobs vanished overseas - 33% higher than in 1999 and the highest figure for ten years. The number of mid-wives fell by 600 in one year.
New Labour talk of bringing nurses back in to the profession but State Enrolled Nurses who left the NHS before 1990 and now want to return are charged £2,000 for retraining by some NHS trusts.
Student nurses are leaving in droves because of only being paid £2.60 an hour and facing intolerable accommodation problems.
Blair nearly admitted this week that the billions extra Labour earmarked for the NHS won't avert a winter crisis. That's because the money is going down a privatisation plug-hole rather than in to the pockets of the healthworkers who keep the NHS alive.
A sure start to ending the NHS winter crisis is to stop NHS privatisation, stop subsidising private sector healthcare and pay up for the healthworkers.
In The Socialist 8 December 2000: