Support junior doctors’ and student nurses’ action

NHS workers under attack

Support junior doctors’ and student nurses’ action

Matt Whale, student nurse

The attack launched on student nurse bursaries underlines the continued campaign the Tories are conducting against our NHS. NHS spending is at its lowest as a percentage of GDP since 1951, and the treasury is demanding a further £22 billion worth of cuts by 2020.

There is a huge shortage of nurses within the NHS. The current shortage is already over 20,000 and is likely to increase. The logical solution to this would be to invest in student nurse places and increase the funding to cover the shortfall. Some 37,000 applicants have been unsuccessful in their efforts to get onto a nursing a course. Demand is there for places on courses, yet the government is cutting the £1.2 billion bursary for the training of the next generation of nurses, midwives and other healthcare professionals.

The government is claiming this will allow for a lifting of the block on recruitment as costs will be kept down. But the reality is people will be unable to afford to train to be a nurse. There may be more places but what’s the point if people can’t afford to take them up?

The NHS is one the greatest victories the British working class has ever won. The Tories hated it from its inception and are determined to destroy it. Nye Bevan famously said that the NHS will last as long as there are folk left with faith to fight for it.

The fantastic fight by the junior doctors and the huge public support for their struggle shows people will still fight to defend the NHS. Junior doctors are being forced once again to name strike days as the government attacks their terms and conditions and risks the safety of patients. The other health unions should join forces with the BMA and launch a national campaign to defend the NHS.

Join the student nurses’ demonstration on 9 January at 12pm, St Thomas’ Hospital, London and support the junior doctors’ strike action on 12 January.

The Socialist Party calls for:

  • Abolish the Health and Social Care Act – no cuts, closures or privatisation
  • Support health workers – united action by all health unions to defend our NHS
  • Scrap the Private Finance Initiative and cancel the debt
  • Nationalise pharmaceutical companies and all private health providers
  • Investment not cuts – for a well-funded NHS, free at the point of use
  • Free education and training and living grants for all students.