Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/238/25040
Spending Cuts, Privatisation, Staff Shortages:
New Labour is Bad for Your Health
- Pay health workers a living wage.
- Kick out the private profiteers.
- Nationalise the pharmaceutical industry.
- For a fully funded public health service.
A MILLION people are on hospital waiting lists - 2% of the entire British population. New Labour's latest attempt to distract from chronic underfunding and understaffing of the NHS involved sending nine patients via Eurostar to a French hospital in Lille for cataract and joint operations.
Councillor Dave Nellist, leader, Socialist group, Coventry City council
A better solution would have been to re-open some of the 13,000 NHS beds that New Labour have closed since 1997. And with ironic timing, the patients arrived in France just as French hospital workers, nurses and doctors were about to start a week of industrial action to protest about staff shortages of 80,000 in their own health service!
Britain is supposed to be the fourth richest country in the world - but health spending as a percentage of the country's wealth is 15th and Britain's ranking by the World Health Organisation is 18th.
While Chancellor Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Milburn promised "billions more" for the NHS, health authorities are this month making millions of pounds of urgent cuts to avoid "overspending". What an 'Alice in Wonderland' world!
New Labour has responded to growing opposition by unions, patients and health staff against creeping NHS privatisation "by the back door" - by throwing open the front door! Their proposals for "foundation hospitals" sounds depressingly similar to Railtrack.
The 12 hospital trusts that earned zero stars in last year's inspections by the Commission for Health Improvement (including Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital Trust) could be among the first to have their management privatised.
The plans were almost universally condemned with only privatisation firms themselves welcoming the move. Private companies are wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a bigger share of the £50 billion national health budget.
The Socialist Party believes that the NHS needs reintegrating as a wholly publicly funded and publicly owned service under the control and planning of working class people. Join us and fight to make it a reality.
In The Socialist 25 January 2002: