Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/921/23784
From The Socialist newspaper, 19 October 2016
NHS at breaking Point
National demo and health workers' strike needed!
NHS at breaking point - national demo and health workers' strike needed photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Richard Worth, Bristol South Socialist Party
The National Health Service is "now at breaking point." This is the warning from Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers.
There's a shortage of 20,000 NHS nurses. Pressure on staff means tired health workers, threatening patient safety. With one in three nurses aged over 50, many may retire over the coming years and shortages will grow. But instead of helping to recruit more the Tories have scrapped bursaries for student nurses, making them pay for their training!
Newly qualified junior doctors look after up to 100 patients. One said: "We don't have time to review patients. [I am] constantly fighting fires, covering three people's jobs, so I never have time to think about a patient properly." Yet the government is forcing them onto a new contract, making them work even harder.
One in ten hospital beds are occupied by patients who can't be released because of cuts to social care. This means operations are cancelled, causing patients to be seen in private hospitals, costing the NHS.
The Royal College of General Practitioners says 600 practices - with 75% of GPs in these aged over 55 - are at risk of closure by 2020. This will result in a shortage of 10,000 GPs in the next four years.
Yet patients are already struggling to get appointments. Many end up in hospital A&E departments, suffering long waits. This will only get worse as we go into winter.
What's the Tory answer to this crisis? More cuts! Theresa May says there'll be no additional NHS funding and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is demanding £22 billion in 'efficiency savings' (ie cuts) by 2020.
'Sustainability and Transformation Plans' for NHS England will axe maternity wards and A&E units. Entire hospitals could close.
Action is needed to save our NHS. The trade unions must coordinate widespread industrial action of health and other workers under attack. A national demonstration of unions and community activists to defend the NHS would have mass support. If followed by a 24-hour general strike, the Tories could be brought down - a first step to saving the NHS!
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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 19 October 2016:
Socialist Party news and analysis
NHS at breaking Point
Teachers working 60 hours need strikes, not studies
Elderly care at crisis point
Health campaigns demonstrate together in 'one fight'
NHS cancer and dementia drugs 'unaffordable'
Them & Us
What we think
No backtracks, no compromises: we must fight for real democracy in the Labour Party
TUSC discusses new tasks after Corbyn victory
Workplace news and analysis
Sheffield bin striker slams privatised refuse bosses
Newsquest strike: Bosses realise 'contraints' of scab labour
London Underground cleaners protest pay cut
Support the 'Kinsley 3' cleaners in pay fight
International socialist news and analysis
Syria: horror deepens in Aleppo
Aberfan: a disaster that should never have happened
Suez 1956: the decline of British imperialism and rise of the colonial revolution
Black History Month
The radical life of Paul Robeson
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Butterfields housing victory: "We showed that if you stick together and fight you can win"
Come to Socialism 2016
Can you donate to the Socialism 2016 appeal?
Cheshire and Merseyside: Huge NHS cuts and privatisation planned
Devon: Campaigning against community hospitals closures
Bristol: Millions of pounds of "horrifically unpalatable" cuts
Socialist readers' comments and reviews
Moving, funny and inspiring tribute to working class heroism
Film review: Deepwater Horizon
Review: BBC2's Poetry Night
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