Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1003/27632
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 July 2018
Yes to NHS - No to PFI!
NHS demonstration 30 June 2018, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Nick Hart, Wolverhampton and Black Country Socialist Party
On 5 July, nearly 100 local residents and trade unionists came out to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the NHS but also to protest outside the half-built Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick.
The hospital was planned to replace both Sandwell and City Hospitals, meaning fewer beds and health workers covering West Birmingham and Sandwell. The £350 million PFI (Private Finance Initiative) contract to build and manage the hospital was won by Carillion, which went bust earlier this year. The result was construction workers being laid off overnight as work was paused.
The new hospital was originally scheduled to open later this year. It's now expected that it won't be completed until at least 2022, with medium to long-term planning of services left in limbo.
As speakers at the protest pointed out, when the prestige Paradise office and retail development in Birmingham city centre hit the buffers in the wake of Carillion's bankruptcy, a new contractor for the building works was found. If that's doable for a project that will help big businesses in the city, why not for services used by local residents?
It's welcome that Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to scrap PFI contracts if Labour is elected. To truly end the rip-off and make the money available for spending on frontline services, this should be done without compensation to large shareholders.
Labour councils, such as those in Birmingham and Sandwell, should act now and use their supervisory powers over local NHS trusts to halt and reverse privatisation plans, so we can make the NHS the publicly owned and publicly run service that it was founded to be.
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In The Socialist 11 July 2018:
What we think
Tories in crisis - Act now to get them out!
600 more retail jobs on the line: workers must not pay for the bosses' high street crunch!
Britain bakes as water pipelines leak
Minister's benefits lie: sack the Tories - and scrap universal credit
Them & Us
Trump and the US
Hit the streets against Trump and capitalism
US: "We've had to build a huge culture of resistance"
NSSN conference 2018: Mood for fighting action and coordination
Big victory for Wigan NHS strike against privatisation
Campaign in full flow to squeeze out every last Yes vote in pay ballot
Hackney traffic wardens strike for better pay and protection at work
Summer of discontent on the cards in Huddersfield bin workers' dispute
Tyneside shopfitting plant lays off 61 workers
Unite conference sees union go in a fighting, socialist direction
Pressure building on councillors to stop fire service cuts
Tram workers strike against 'derisory' pay offer
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Stop the FLA - No to racism
Women's Lives Matter launched in Leeds to fight domestic violence service cuts
Service users and families protest learning disability service cuts
NHS Leeds: Campaigners halt outsourcing... for now
Yes to NHS - No to PFI!
Tories fractured... election possibility... give us the resources!
Issue 1000 drive shows sales potential
The Socialist 11 July 2018 |
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