The Socialist 25 May 2006
Time to stand up to NHS cuts!
Save our community hospitals
FOLLOWING ON from major cut-backs last year, Kennet/West Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) have announced the future closures of community hospitals in Trowbridge, Warminster, Devizes and probably Melksham and Marlborough.
Roger Davey Senior UNISON steward, Swindon & Wiltshire Health Branch (personal capacity)
Furthermore, they intend to drastically reduce the number of beds in Chippenham and also close two local maternity units in an effort to cut costs. Although management give no figures we believe this dismantling of Wiltshire's NHS will put at least 300 to 400 jobs at risk of redundancy.
As in the rest of the country, this ruthless reduction in hospital beds will mean that patients who should be cared for in hospital will now be dumped at home, over-reliant on overstretched privatised community nursing teams, friends and relatives or inappropriately placed in private nursing homes.
Moreover these patients will have to pay for treatment which is described as personal care - a definition which under this government is increasingly including what most people would consider as nursing care.
These attacks on the NHS are part of the drive towards privatisation which is reflected in the way the PCT intends to provide community care. At present, they are encouraging nurses and other medical staff to form 'social enterprises', in other words private businesses, to compete for PCT contracts. It's a move that will inevitably lead to the domination of community care by ruthless global corporations.
In response to these dire proposals we in UNISON have held meetings in all the affected hospitals and, with enthusiastic support from members, have begun a campaign of resistance across Wiltshire. However, if our campaign is ultimately to succeed and the NHS saved we need a national day of action with support given to regional industrial action.
In this issue
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Environment: Nuclear power
Campaign for a New Workers Party
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis