Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/873/21542
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.
- Back NHS workers - support the doctors' call for strikes
- Defend unsocial hours payments
- End the hiring freeze
- Reverse all cuts
- Kick the private vultures out of the NHS
- Free education for all
In The Socialist 7 October 2015:
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