THIS MONTH, over 5,000 NHS workers - nurses, cleaners and administration staff - in County Durham received letters with their pay slips asking if they want to leave their jobs. NHS staff were outraged at these proposals, reporting that they are already understaffed and overstretched.
This is the latest attack on the NHS in County Durham. In March 2006 700 'surplus' jobs were axed across the County Durham and Darlington Acute Hospitals Trust. Recently several wards were closed in Bishop Auckland hospital (built in 2002!) through money-saving measures. The Socialist Party will be doing stalls outside local hospitals to build opposition to these cuts.
ON 9 June, 300 people marched through Cinderford in the Forest of Dean against plans to close Colliers Court, a local elderly people's facility and to move residents and day care patients 25 miles away to a facility near Cheltenham.
They will have to use public transport, involving three buses each way, all because it is now deemed uneconomical to keep the Forest's only local facility of this nature open.
Protesters heard speeches from Tory and New Labour councillors but Chris Moore of the Socialist Party got a good response when he emphasised the need to keep the NHS public, and suggested campaigners could stand in elections as a step to building a new mass workers' party.
ACCORDING TO the Nottingham Evening Post recently: "In March 2007, thirteen patients from Nottingham were treated at Barlborough ISTC (Independent Sector Treatment Centre) which was nine less than the 22 which should have been carried out AND were paid for. In February the number was ten operations. In 2005 Nottingham City and Notts County PCTs (primary care trusts) paid £3.97 million but £2.5 million of operations were not carried out."
ISTCs - money for what? Private sector profits, that's what!