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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 November 2018

Deepening Scottish health funding crisis

NHS Tayside facing massive job cuts

NHS

NHS   (Click to enlarge)

Alan Manley, health worker and Socialist Party Scotland, Dundee

NHS Tayside in September discussed plans to axe 1,300 jobs - 10% of the entire workforce! It will mean longer waiting times, poorer services and a devastating increase in workload on the already overworked and underpaid staff. In the four years up to 2018, 600 posts have already gone.

These cuts need to be stopped. The health unions, who knew this was coming, need to develop a response that puts the need to protect service provision front and centre by fighting for more NHS jobs.

Crisis

This is a public emergency. It high-lights the consequences of a Scottish National Party (SNP) government imposing Tory austerity in the health service, when the need for full funding is clearer than ever.

Last winter was one of crisis throughout the NHS in Scotland, along with the rest of the UK. Operations were cancelled and treatment delayed, as cuts and closures affected all health disciplines. One year on and this winter will be no better.

Audit Scotland, the country's public spending watchdog, published a report in late October, stating that NHS Scotland faces a huge funding crisis.

Despite the SNP government's promise to increase spending by 500 million above inflation in real terms, NHS funding fell last year by 0.2% - failing to match costs and inflation. Health boards made unprecedented cuts of almost 500 million in 2017-18.

The backlog of repairs is valued at 899 million. Eight health boards have forecast deficits of 132 million by the end of the year. Some have claimed emergency loans totalling 102 million to balance their books.

Scotland's NHS remains mired in debt. The obligations to private companies under rip-off Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes is one factor, as is the spiralling costs paid to drug companies - which have jumped by 19% in five years.

Another winter of crisis following a year of underfunding is inevitable. The recent UK budget announced an increase in funding for the Scottish government but this will not cover the costs in health, let alone other public services.

The need for a fully funded NHS, the nationalisation of the drugs companies, the scrapping of all PFIs and a reversal of all spending cuts, is more pressing as each day passes.

It's long past time the NHS trade unions launched a mass campaign to defend the NHS. This funding emergency requires nothing less.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 14 November 2018:


What we think

A mass, trade union-led, socialist anti-racist campaign can defeat the far right


Socialism 2018

Socialism 2018: Huge confidence in the working class to change society


International socialist news and analysis

US midterms: Republicans weakened - but workers' fightback needed to end Trumpism


Socialist Party news and analysis

Major private care operator puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk

Grenfell - no more cover-ups!

Tories out now to save our NHS


Socialist history

1918: revolution ends World War One - and shakes the capitalist world


Workplace news and analysis

TGI Fridays strike wins control of tips

British Gas workers need rank-and-file leadership

PCS union members: why we're backing Chris

Victory for democracy at CWU 'redesign' conference

National Education Union: vote for action on funding


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Haringey's 'Corbyn council' must refuse to make cuts!

NHS Tayside facing massive job cuts

Mansfield: keep our park open!

Newham by-election: We need anti-austerity councillors

Leeds meeting backs striking rail guards

Welsh Socialist Students campaign and meet in Swansea


Opinion

Engaging book about Corbyn's rise doesn't provide answers on how to change Labour

Theatre: The Last Seam - a lasting tribute to Mary Jackson

The Socialist inbox


 

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