Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/610/8769

From The Socialist newspaper, 3 February 2010

Fight new attacks on London's NHS

HOSPITALS ACROSS London will close, accident and emergency departments will be lost, and thousands of beds will go. So says NHS London, the strategic health planning authority for the capital. The British Medical Association warns of 5 billion cuts in London's health services in a report called "London's NHS on the Brink". What is posed is a wholesale ransacking of the NHS by private companies, accompanied by dramatic cuts.

Paula Mitchell

David Cameron's advertising hoardings claim: "I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS". All the main parties would have us believe that the 'savage cuts' they all propose will not touch essential frontline services such as the NHS and schools.

This is a lie. All the big business parties promise to 'deal with' the historically high government deficit, 178 billion this year, and they are determined to do this by making working-class people pay.

For the rich to be let off the hook, frontline services will have to be savaged. Even the head of the Audit Commission, the spending watchdog, has declared the idea that the NHS and schools can be protected as "insane".

Initially it could be that there are not actual cuts in the NHS as such, but a freeze on spending. This amounts to a cut, because health costs steadily increase.

Some would say that the NHS is a bottomless pit and there simply isn't enough money to keep pouring in. This is a difficult argument to sustain when the bankers are taking home 60 billion in bonuses in the same city that faces 5 billion NHS cuts!

And there is a simple reason why health costs are high - profit.

Private interests

It has always been the case that huge sums of money are sucked out of the NHS by the pharmaceutical companies.

For some years now, health costs have also increased due to the profits leeched by building and supply companies through Private Finance Initiative (PFI) and other privatisation projects. PFI was the Tories' brainchild but was carried on with a vengeance by New Labour.

To take the cost of construction of new buildings out of the government's public borrowing figures and give money-making opportunities to their big business friends, contracts are awarded to private companies to do the work. The NHS then pays the company for use of the building or services over a period of years.

Once the contract is entered into, it is difficult to break without incurring large penalties. But it means that the cost to the NHS escalates beyond all proportion. According to the British Medical Association in London, works costing 2.65 billion will ultimately lead to total payments of 16.7 billion.

Costs are also escalating because of the profits grabbed by private service providers. Currently around 7 billion of NHS money a year is spent in the private sector, with, for example, contracts given to private firms to provide cataract operations (paying for a certain number of procedures whether or not they actually carry them out).

But this privatisation could dramatically increase. From 2007, private companies have been invited to tender for primary care in the NHS, which accounts for 80% of the NHS budget. These issues have already been the focus of local campaigns.

In Tower Hamlets, for example, patients, health care workers and members of the public have protested at GPs surgeries being handed over to multinational private company Atos Origin. In Camden, American firm United Health runs three GP practices, and another company called Care UK has been offered a health centre.

Warning given

BEHIND THE devastating changes proposed for London's NHS is the Darzi framework for London. Two years ago when this report was first launched, we warned: "The re-organisation of London's health service is really about saving money and opening the door to private health companies to buy up a cost-effective and very profitable London health service" (The Socialist, 21-27 February 2008).

London district general hospitals will be downgraded to local hospitals and polyclinics, losing A&Es and other services. Services will be concentrated into a handful of 'specialist' hospitals, so-called 'centres of excellence', across the city. This process has already happened in South East London, for example, where Queen Mary Hospital in Sidcup has been downgraded to a local hospital, and A&E and maternity departments have been closed.

We all want excellence in our services. But not when this 'excellence' is hiding huge cuts and privatisation!

Polyclinics, already spreading across the capital, mean that local GPs' surgeries are merged into 'super-surgeries' offering a number of services that hospitals offered previously.

There is a tendering process to decide who will run these poly-clinics. Health bosses in Camden planned to close down four local practices in Bloomsbury and secretly courted a private company, Branson's Virgin Healthcare, to run a polyclinic at University College London Hospital.

A few years ago campaigns sprang up all over the country when the government suddenly demanded that NHS Trusts had to balance their books. Many had run big deficits for years, made much worse by spiralling PFI contracts, and balancing the books meant big cuts.

Most of these campaigns have died down, and health bosses probably think they can push through these latest proposed changes behind our backs.

But as the article on King George's hospital in Ilford (see right) shows, once the concrete reality of NHS cuts becomes apparent, campaigns in local areas have to be renewed. Once again we demand that there is a co-ordinated trade union response, linking up local campaigns, to defend our national health service.

The Socialist Party demands:

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 3 February 2010:

'Filthy rich' get richer: Challenge the bosses' greed!


War and occupation

Taliban insurgency, poverty and corruption Brown's Afghan crisis deepens

Chilcot Inquiry: Millionaire Blair has no regrets


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fight new attacks on London's NHS

Save our A&E!


Youth fight for jobs

Civil service Young workers get organised

Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) activities

No cuts and no fees in further education

Young people blocked from access to education


Socialist Party news and analysis

Council criminalises dissent

Socialist councillors back school's protest

Weak growth - the best that capitalism can offer

Fast News


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Trade unionist and socialist coalition

Bob Crow launches Portsmouth TUSC

Scottish TUSC steering committee set up

TUSC Coalition sponsors


Socialist Party workplace news

Unison general secretary election: Fighting left challenge needed

Defend the four: Courts show what side they're on

Civil service strike ballot as talks fail

Fujitsu strikers determined to save jobs and pensions


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: Violent election campaign puts Rajapakse back in power

Tekel workers demand general strike in Turkey

Betrayed - PTSD casualties of war


 

Home   |   The Socialist 3 February 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

NHS:

triangleUprising to save the NHS!

triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy

triangleTories scrap the NHS pay cap: now fight for real-terms pay rises!

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

London:

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: "You can't have capitalism without racism" (Malcolm X)

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Capitalism in Crisis - is Corbyn the answer?

triangleWest London Socialist Party: Young people need socialism!

Health:

triangleNHS meltdown - fight the Tory cuts

triangleTories wreck our NHS

triangleOne in four teenage girls depressed - crisis made worse by cuts

Hospitals:

triangleChatsworth ward campaign replies to Tory MP's intervention

triangleTragic death highlights Chatsworth ward closure risk

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

19/10/17

North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

PCS

Balloting members on the pay cap

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2