Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/315/11616
From The Socialist newspaper, 20 September 2003
NHS -Yet more lies
NEW LABOUR have also lied about the National Health Service. They said that their proposed private treatment centres would not poach NHS staff but it's now clear that they will.
Labour health secretary John Reid has named the seven companies chosen as 'preferred bidders' to run 22 new NHS treatment centres which would carry out 250,000 operations over five years on patients in NHS waiting lists.
So now private profit-chasing health care corporations will grab a £2 billion foothold in this potentially lucrative market.
The companies - from Britain, South Africa, Canada and USA - will carry out relatively routine operations such as hip replacements and cataract operations.
They would make big profits but could lead to NHS wards closing.
The previous health secretary Alan Milburn said that NHS staff would not work in these centres but now Reid admits that this would happen.
Reid writes off opposition to his wooing of the "independent sector" as purely "political". But the British Medical Association oppose his plans, saying there was no point having up to 70% of staff in the centres coming from the NHS if that left state hospitals short of doctors to carry out their normal work.
Health workers' union UNISON said that routine hip, knee and cataract operations often subsidise complicated procedures needing long-term care.
Is that all to be sacrificed to benefit some cowboy firm's profit ledger?
UNISON and other unions could come into conflict with Blair and Co at this month's Labour Party conference over Foundation hospitals and the flow of NHS resources into the private sector.
For socialists, opposition to NHS privatisation is 'political' - we fight to rebuild a democratic, fully comprehensive national health service, fully funded through public spending and free at the point of use.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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- When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 20 September 2003:
Iraq: How Many More Lies?
Defend Anti-War Protesters
NHS -Yet more lies
Action Against Killing for Profit
Postal Workers' Ballot Narrowly Lost
Interview with CWU leader Dave Ward: Challenging Royal Mail's Accounts
Press Release: Joe Higgins TD (MP) and Councillor Clare Daly Jailed
WTO Wounded But Capitalist Exploitation Still Rules
What's the socialist alternative for education?
Liverpool: The City That Fought Back
Sweden: Historic Vote Routs The Political Establishment
TUC Congress 2003
The Socialist 20 September 2003 |
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