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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 December 2016

NHS crisis: we're fighting back!

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Jackie Grunsell, GP

Health workers up and down the country are bracing themselves for a winter crisis.

Even prior to the increased demand that winter places on the NHS, the situation has reached a tipping point in recent years. The cumulative effect of cuts and staff shortages year after year has left services blatantly incapable of meeting needs.

I hear regular reports from GP surgeries of 999 calls made and ambulances being unable to respond. Patients have been left waiting for as much as four hours before the paramedics reach them.

A ripple effect of slashing of social care funding means fit patients can't be discharged, wards are full, A&Es can't admit people, ambulances have to wait outside hospitals with critically ill patients inside and can't get back out to attend to those who need them in the community.

It is against this background that we are being told another 22 billion of cuts are to be made in the NHS England budget. More A&E departments must close and cash starved GP surgeries will be left to wither on the vine. And the government's misnamed 'sustainability and transformation plans' will cut NHS funding even more brutally.

Is it any wonder that around the country a mood of anger and rebellion is rapidly developing?

In Huddersfield the campaign to save the A&E and hospital rages on. Chorley campaigners are unrelenting in their weekly protest outside the Chorley and South Ribble A&E. Leicester is fighting to keep Glenfield children's heart surgery unit. Thousands have been on the streets in Exeter, Barnstaple, Grantham, Banbury and many more areas where services are under threat.

These campaigns are uniting and calling a national demonstration on 4 March against NHS cuts and closures. It has the backing of Unite and the PCS unions. We are calling on Unison, which organises many health workers, to give its support also.

This is set to be an outpouring of the anger against the Tories' deliberate underfunding and destruction of our treasured NHS. It needs to be a step towards a national united campaign - including industrial action - to save our health service.

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Coronavirus crisis - 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 14 December 2016:


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