Ruby Dark, Southwark Socialist Party
photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Cuts to NHS and social care are the major cause for the rise in mortality rates and excess deaths, research recently published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine has confirmed.

The statement may seem quite literally, painfully obvious. Yet the Department of Health has rejected the report as tainted by “bias.”

However, the evidence is undeniable, with 2015 seeing the highest mortality rate since 2008 following £16.7 billion of cuts since 2009. A&E waiting hours and ambulance response times have also risen as a result of cuts to the NHS.

It is clear that austerity threatens the safety of us all, but particularly the most vulnerable, with the report finding that older people are those most dependent on NHS services. The government cannot adequately guarantee the health of the population after systematically dismantling the NHS and selling it off to private profiteers under PFI schemes.

Emergency services haven’t been the only ones to suffer under cuts. I usually have to wait four weeks at least for an appointment at my home GP in Bristol, an experience I’m sure many others will recognise as the norm rather than the exception.

The only way to save the NHS is to reverse the health cuts, scrap PFI debts and bring the health service back under public control. Private companies should not be able to profit from the NHS, and the government should not be able to put the population in danger through inadequate funding. Corbyn’s Labour should be calling for this as a minimum.

It is disgraceful that the Tories and Blairites prioritise profit over human lives. This report demonstrates again the sheer inhumanity and danger of capitalist austerity, and it must be fought.