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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2017

Underfunded, understaffed, under attack

Save our NHS

Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Steve Harbord, former NHS ambulance worker

It's the NHS workers and patients who bear the brunt of the inevitable winter pressures - combined with underfunding, understaffing, low pay and low morale.

The chair of a major NHS trust in the capital quit on 10 December. It seems the rats are deserting the sinking ship.

But don't feel too sorry for the poor NHS execs. If things get too hot they can bail out on fat pensions.

Lord Kerslake resigned as chair of King's College Hospital Trust citing the unrealistic financial approach of the government towards the NHS.

He will be replaced by Ian Smith, formerly of building firm Taylor Woodrow - and General Healthcare Group, the owners of BMI Healthcare, which runs 59 private hospitals and clinics nationwide.

Marching to save the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

Marching to save the NHS, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

The oddly named body 'NHS Improvement', which oversees spending within the health service, had allowed the board at King's to set a deficit budget of 38 million for the year.

But as with most NHS trusts, government cuts mean there will be a massive overspend. The board now expects the deficit to be more like 92 million. Under the government's 'sustainability and transformation plans', trusts must eliminate these deficits by 2020 - meaning more massive cuts.

The Tories and Blairites attack funding and working conditions in the NHS hoping things will get so bad that we will welcome in the privateers and spivs. But all they want is to siphon off a profit. Nobody's falling for that.

Professor Stephen Hawking has added his name to a lawsuit trying to prevent Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt establishing 'accountable care organisations' (ACOs) within the NHS.

The name and function of ACOs come from the US health system. They represent a further entrenchment of privatisation.

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Paul Mattsson

Save our NHS demo 4.3.17, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

The fact is healthcare, education and public services can be funded and managed properly. But it will take socialist policies to achieve this.

Kerslake's resignation followed the collective resignation of Theresa May's Social Mobility Commission. It takes place during her ongoing Brexit crisis.

At the same time, community campaigns are beating Tory attacks on the NHS - like the victory against the closure of Glenfield children's heart centre, where the Socialist Party played a leading role.

So now it's time to up the pressure on this hated Tory government. Unite the trade union and community actions across the public and private sectors to defend jobs and services and beat back austerity. That kind of action could force the Tories out now.

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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.

  • 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.
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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 13 December 2017:


What we think

Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy


International socialist news and analysis

A world in crisis, ripe for revolution

Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian conflict

110 years ago: massacre at Santa Maria school in Chile - commemorate 21 December 1907


Socialist Party news and analysis

Save our NHS

Two in five 'right to buy' homes now for let

Retail sector crunch: nationalise to save jobs

Uni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

Them & Us


Socialist Party workplace news

Local government pay: fight for the 5% claim, fully funded

Strikers rally in Liverpool

Unite day of action against blacklisting

Brighton victory

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

Teachers strike in Sheffield

Newham anti-academies strikes


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

South London health bosses' cover-up

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting


Christmas Quiz

The Socialist's 2017 quiz


 

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