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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 December 2013

Fight for our NHS: Public health, not private profit

Alison Hill

The latest measure of the cuts crisis in the NHS is the revelation that some patients are being forced to wait in ambulances outside hospitals because there is no bed for them and no staff to treat them.

The BBC recently asked all UK ambulance services for their waiting figures. This revealed that many patients have to wait in ambulances outside hospital for at least an hour, many around two hours. One ambulance in Wales was 'queuing' for six hours 22 minutes!

NHS England claims waiting times are improving but these figures relate to the summer months.

Now the cold winter weather is beginning to bite and people face ever-rising fuel bills, particularly older people who are vulnerable to cold-related illnesses.

These can only be exacerbated if they have to wait outside hospital in an ambulance for hours on end.

Scandalous situations like these are of course a direct result of the Con-Dems' policy of cuts and privatisation.

This has led to staff shortages and the closure of A&E departments entirely in some areas, putting further pressure on those that remain.

But we shouldn't let Labour off the hook.

They paved the way for privatisation while they were in office and they championed the Private Finance Imitative which is bleeding our hospitals and health service dry while lining the pockets of the construction bosses.

Labour councils are also cutting services such as homecare and are doing nothing to increase the amount of accessible housing.

So frail older people get stuck in hospital with no suitable home to go to. And the ambulances line up outside with more patients needing hospital care.

Care workers working in the community are having to fight the cuts in their pay and conditions. Some find themselves working for less than the minimum wage because council contractors don't pay them for travel time between visits.

None of the establishment parties can be excused from the mess they have made of the NHS and the care services in general. Time for organised action to rebuild what we have won in the past.

Time for a 24-hour general strike against austerity and cuts. Time to build a new mass workers' party which can really represent the interests of working people.

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In The Socialist 11 December 2013:


International socialist news and analysis

After Mandela: The struggle must continue

Cameron 'kowtows' to Chinese dictatorship


Socialist Students

Cops Off Campus: NUS must call a national demonstration now!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Osborne's budget statement - work 'til you drop or fight back!

Reactions to the Autumn Statement

Fight for our NHS: Public health, not private profit

Struggling workers say 'fight poverty pay'!

Austerity and the new working poor

Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Floods: "Daddy, there's water on the floor"

Swansea councillors: which side are you on?

Why I've donated to the Socialist Party Christmas appeal

Obituary: Joel Lane, 1963-2013

Message to our readers and contributors


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

Building TUSC in byelections


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangle1,400 beds empty as patients lay in corridors: health unions must act now

triangleLeeds TUSC: How can we stop NHS cuts & privatisation?

triangleLeeds TUSC: How can we stop NHS cuts & privatisation?

triangleLeeds TUSC: How can we stop NHS cuts & privatisation?

triangleMay elections: a chance to fight attacks on health and social care

Health:

triangleNHS pay: Reject the Tories' divide and rule offer

triangleCuts harm kids' health

triangleThe Blairites are NHS privatisers - to save it means sacking them

triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

Cuts:

triangleCoventry TUSC: Council cuts - how can we fight back?

triangleLewisham & Southwark Socialist Party: What would a socialist council look like?

triangleBristol South Socialist Party: How can councils protect public services?

Hospital:

triangleUnions condemn 'culture of bullying' at Merseyside hospital

triangleHands Off HRI campaign granted judicial review

Ambulance:

triangleWelsh NHS crisis - we cannot go on like this

Privatisation:

triangleYork: Stop NHS Privatisation meeting

Hospitals:

triangleNorthern health campaigns conference discusses the fightback

Care workers:

triangleTaking the anti-austerity message to the chancellor's back yard

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