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From The Socialist newspaper, 4 October 2017

Tories wreck our NHS

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Caroline Vincent, Leicester East Socialist Party

The NHS crisis is escalating as the Tories continue their mission to 'slash, trash and privatise' our health service.

Thanks to sustainability and transformation plans (STPs), hospitals are facing a bleak winter. Alarmingly, despite the fact that there are already too few inpatient beds for hospitals to cope, proposals have been made to cut back even further.

Last winter saw major alerts called across the country, with accident and emergency departments forced to close, as they could not endure the strain placed on underfunded services. Further cuts will be catastrophic.

Unbelievably there are now half as many hospital beds as there were 30 years ago.

A reason given is that patients with mental health issues can be cared for in their communities. Yet mental health services are another area in crisis, having faced devastating cuts.

And provision for care in the community to patients who are leaving, or at risk of going into hospital is woefully insufficient, only meeting half of demand.

This dire situation is compounded by closures of GP surgeries throughout the UK, with 202 practices having closed or merged in the year to June 2017.

There is now a serious shortage of GPs as a result of under investment in primary care.

Stress and rising workloads have led to an exodus of family doctors, which in turn puts pressure on A&Es, as people who can't get a doctor's appointment don't know where else to turn.

Patients, doctors and health workers all deserve better than this. The Tories see the NHS as an opportunity to line the pockets of their fat cat friends. That's why we need to fight back - for public health, not private wealth!


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