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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2015

Back our doctors and nurses

Support calls for strikes over juniors' contracts

Matt Whale, Student nurse

Jeremy Hunt, the hated Tory health secretary, is under attack from the medical profession. He plans to exhaust and demoralise junior doctors with "unsafe and unfair" contract changes.

Meanwhile, a survey says around half of nurses are considering quitting. And the government plans to make trainee nurses pay to work!

Tory plans for junior doctors - everyone below consultant level - are to redefine unsocial hours. Doctors' union BMA estimates that for some this could mean a 40% pay cut!

Doctors have come onto the streets. Thousands marched in London and Manchester. The BMA is balloting members for strike action.

This isn't just about money, though. The contract could see an end to safe working patterns, meaning potential 90-hour weeks for doctors. Under such a workload, there will be mistakes due to fatigue.

59% of nurses already feel they are too busy to give the level of care required. Bullying from management is commonplace.

Now the Tories are considering introducing tuition fees for nursing students - effectively charging them to work. Students graft on wards during training.

Student nurses are supposedly 'supernumerary', meaning enough qualified practitioners are on duty without them. But cuts mean they are increasingly used to make up minimum numbers and carry out essential care.

There is an increase in the number of patients using the NHS. Yet there are recruitment freezes in most areas! The lessons of the Mid Staffs catastrophe have been ignored.

Hunt's insulting claims that the NHS isn't a 24-hour service have provoked huge anger. But it's clear what the intent is. Stretch the NHS to breaking point, and then sell it off to private companies.

The Socialist Party backs proposed industrial action by doctors. We say nurses and all NHS workers should fight alongside them.

All the health unions should ballot and strike together against unbearable conditions in the NHS. Co-ordinated and with a programme of escalating action, we can stop Tory attacks.

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Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • 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 7 October 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

'No time to lose' to organise against austerity

Kick out the Tories!

Back our doctors and nurses

NHS cutters pay doctors not to refer sick patients to hospitals

Tories: let pensioners freeze to death, they can't vote us out then

Them & Us


Socialist Party feature

The housing crisis - a crisis of the profit system


International socialist news and analysis

Catalonia

International news in brief


Workplace news and analysis

Emotional and inspiring strikers secure victory

Junior doctors campaign

RMT president election: back Sean Hoyle

Steely anger in Redcar as plant is mothballed

No wage cuts! Fund equal pay in Derby

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

100,000 march against Tory cuts

Kick out the Tory entryists

Anger after violent youth deaths in south London

Enthusiasm for socialism at freshers fairs

Leeds to get 'ethical' letting agency

Cuts to school crossing supervision in Derbyshire


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleUnite to fight Tory pay insults

trianglePublic sector pay - Prepare for action!

triangleReaders' comments

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triangleScrap the privatising health and care bill

Nurses:

triangleNHS in crisis - 'It's time for action'

triangleOverwhelmed, underfunded, underpaid, and still fighting for safe PPE

triangleSuper-rich tax evasion costs 34 million nurses worldwide

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triangleUnder the microscope

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Student:

triangleStudents and unions must resist misnamed 'free speech' bill

triangleAction marks the way for a national student movement for free education

Strike:

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers' strike suspended

Medical:

triangleTories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers

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