The Socialist

The Socialist 21 February 2018

We can save our NHS

The Socialist issue 983

Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

Tories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

Blairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

Like rats from a sinking Ukip


Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

Newham academies strike continues with three schools to strike together


Northern Ireland talks process paralysed


How can students and young people fight the Tories?

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!


South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail


Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

Save Salford nurseries!

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

Nottingham hospital black alert

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case


German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

The Socialist inbox

 
 
 
 
 

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Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans

Marching to save Chatsworth ward, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans   (Click to enlarge)

Tom Hunt, Chatsworth nurse and Mansfield Socialist Party

The Chatsworth rehabilitation unit at Mansfield Community Hospital in Nottinghamshire has been saved from closure by an excellent campaign - proving once more that if we fight, we can win.

The ward treats patients with long-term neurological conditions in Mansfield, Ashfield and Newark. As staff we knew the closure would be a devastating blow if our patients had to travel further afield for their care.

Our hospitals trust announced last July that Chatsworth ward was to close at the end of that October. They came to the ward with representatives of our union, Unison, to tell staff not to worry - we would be found other jobs within the trust. The NHS currently has 40,000 nursing vacancies.

It was made clear this was a done deal and there was nothing we could do about it because no-one would lose their jobs. However, the staff demanded: "What will happen to our patients with long-term conditions? Where will they go?

"Will they have to travel miles away for their care? How will their loved ones be able to visit them on a daily basis?"

There were no answers. Neither the trust nor the clinical commissioning group (CCG) could answer these vital questions.

So instead of passively accepting closure, the brave staff - with full support from the Socialist Party, and at that time no one else - built a movement including patients, ex-patients and their families.

We quickly formed a committee and launched the slogan #WeAreAllChatsworth. We wanted to send the message that if they closed us, other NHS workplaces would be next.

Mobilising the workforce can sometimes be tricky due to fear and management intimidation. The Socialist Party helped lead the campaign from the start, including showing campaigners how to make use of the media. It wasn't long before the BBC came and filmed our public meeting.

A key moment came when the CCG asked #WeAreAllChatsworth to meet with them and trust representatives. We agreed - if the meeting took place on the ward.

We explained that current patients would like to attend, and indeed one bedbound patient was wheeled into the meeting on her bed, from which she asked searching questions that management didn't answer!

Campaigning works

Jon Dale, secretary of the local health workers' branch of the Unite union and a Socialist Party member, chaired the meeting. He warned the trust and CCG: "If any staff who are part of this campaign on behalf of their patients are disciplined in any way, what is currently a local issue will become a national issue."

The committee met regularly and elected officers. We opened a bank account, produced a banner and t-shirts, and started to build for a march in September. The ward stayed open past the original closure date.

As thousands signed the Socialist Party petition in town, including many health workers, the wider workforce started to feel bolder in offering messages of support, including some union reps who had been hesitant at first.

Under pressure from below, Unison gave official backing to the campaign, as did the Royal College of Nursing. Jeremy Corbyn also spoke in support. The campaign continued to receive messages of support from around the globe.

The staff stayed strong, and even under the stress of insecurity only three found other jobs. In similar cases staff have understandably voted with their feet and sought employment elsewhere, making the closure a fait accompli.

There were several public consultation meetings called by the CCG and every time there was standing room only. The march and rally were hugely successful with massive support from the public.

On 12 February the trust and CCG called a meeting at the hospital, packed with staff once again. Management announced to poker-faced workers that the ward would stay open.

The Chatsworth staff are a family like no other. Their courage in standing up for what they believe in is inspirational.

We will now be working closely with the trust and the CCG to develop the service to include reaching into the community. Also, ex-patients are very keen to restart the self-help organisation that closed a few years ago.

Patients with long-term neurological conditions can now feel secure in the knowledge they can access care at the right time, in the right place.

#WeAreAllChatsworth has won this battle. This shows again that with bold leadership and organising, NHS workers and patients can stop the cuts.

Now let's take the campaign national. The health unions must build for action to save the NHS from the vile clutches of the capitalists and privateers.


In this issue


Socialist Party news and analysis

Chatsworth ward victory shows we can save our NHS

Tories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

Blairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

Facebook sides with state repression - reinstate the Tamil Solidarity page

Like rats from a sinking Ukip


Workplace news and analysis

Usdaw victory - Socialist Party member Amy Murphy wins presidential election

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

After 80 strike days Mears workers achieve victory

Newham academies strike continues with three schools to strike together


What we think

Northern Ireland talks process paralysed


Socialist Students

How can students and young people fight the Tories?

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Ramaphosa is a safe pair of hands for capitalism

Russia: Ali Feruz, journalist and human rights activist, freed from jail


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Building the campaign against clearances of the working class

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

Save Salford nurseries!

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

Nottingham hospital black alert

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

Outrageous sentence for TUSC agent in 'misleading electors' court case


Opinion

German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

The Socialist inbox


 

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