Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/629/9834
NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay
Trade union response urgently needed
Two days after the coalition of Liberals and Tories came to power, health authorities across Scotland announced budget cuts of up to 5,000 jobs in the next two years.
Alan Manley, Unison Scottish Health committee, personal capacity
Across Scotland health boards are now breaking the bad news to NHS workers and service users. The new government has said the 'days of plenty' are over. An emergency budget on 22 June will continue the slaughter of the public sector 'required' to reduce a deficit that was due to the bailout of the banks and financial institutions.
Freezing vacancies will soon be joined by a pay freeze. Throughout the general election the Tories made it clear they favoured a pay freeze for all public sector workers earning over £18,000 a year. The bosses in the CBI want a two-year pay freeze. Under the mask of a national emergency, the 'new politics' of consensus between pro capitalist parties will lead to an onslaught on services and jobs.
The Scottish National Party (SNP) led government in Scotland has already set tight budgets for the NHS. The cuts package does not yet take account of the change of government, which, in essence, represents not a change of principle - because New Labour had already promised cuts - but a change of pace.
Within three weeks of finding himself in the post of deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg is now supporting the extra £6 billion of cuts he previously criticised publicly. At the same time we have the grotesque spectacle of Scottish Labour criticising SNP cuts, when a New Labour government had already cut the budget of the Scottish government.
The prospect now facing the NHS in Scotland brings the need for an organised response by trade unions and community groups into sharp focus. The current package is only for the first two years of the 'new politics', with more likely in the future.
We should launch resistance to this government at the earliest opportunity. Public rallies should be organised for the emergency budget on 22 June. Public sector unions and the TUC should call a demonstration for the autumn, when the comprehensive spending review will further twist the knife into public services.
It is high time for unity of service users and workers to oppose cuts. This will require a shift of tactics from the trade unions, who are currently effectively involved in 'social partnership' with bosses who want to cut jobs and services. We will need to organise independent action to defend jobs and services.
The trade unions should seek to defend the interests of their members, rather than worry about the impact action will have on the electoral prospects of Labour.
NHS Greater Glasgow
1,220 jobs to go in 18 months.
Half of them nursing and midwifery posts.
£180 million to be 'saved' over three years.
2,000 jobs to go by April 2012.
A funding 'gap' of £34 million.
Wants to shed 560 jobs.
Looking at a voluntary severance scheme.
Expects to cut 500 jobs, about 4.5% of its workforce over the next two years.
£30 million in 'savings' for 2010/11.
Seeking £10 million in cuts this year.
Redevelopment of Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy may not go ahead (under the PFI contract a £120 million hospital extension will cost £630 million to repay!)
Ayrshire and Arran
Wants to reduce its workforce by up to 2%, 121 jobs.
Shelving capital projects and cutting beds.
In The Socialist 16 June 2010:
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