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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2019

NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!

Demonstrating to save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Demonstrating to save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Alison Hill

Theresa May has been trumpeting an increase in spending on the NHS and a ten-year 'super-plan' for NHS England. But this is not what it seems.

For a start, the "extra" billions promised - reaching an extra 20 billion a year by 2023 - is actually less than the increases in spending before the Tories' cruel austerity policies really kicked in. Funding increases used to be about 4% a year, this works out at just over 3% - barely enough for the NHS to stand still.

If you bear in mind that hospitals are missing every target - for A&E waiting times, cancer treatment and routine operations - that increase will be rapidly eaten up. And if you consider that many hospitals are sinking under crippling 'debts' to the big construction companies from rip-off Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes, this is even less impressive.

There are about 100,000 vacancies for NHS staff at the moment, so the existing staff are having to struggle to keep the system going. How can the proposed improvements in things like cancer diagnosis, maternity care and mental health treatment be delivered without a real increase in spending on training, wages and recruitment?

The biggest gap in all this is social care. The government was supposed to publish a discussion paper on this some months ago but this potato is obviously too hot for them.

Local authorities are having their budgets cut. But rather than confront the government they try to cut what they pay for social care. Care homes rely increasingly on very low-paid workers and are going out of business.

The result is that elderly and vulnerable people end up in hospital for extended periods of time and the waiting lists grow.

Much of this ten-year plan talks about important public health measures like tackling obesity and helping people to give up smoking. But these are the types of services which local authorities are already cutting.

Vandalising the NHS has been one of the government's main objectives - they just see it as a source of profit for their big business backers. And what else are they going to cut to pay for this crude attempt to divert attention from the Brexit fiasco?

There is no time to lose:

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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.
  • 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 9 January 2019:


What we think

Brexit vote round two: Corbyn must fight for a socialist alternative to the Tory deal and bosses' EU


News

Tories Out. End austerity. Mass working-class action for a general election

'Fat Cat Friday' shows where all the money's gone

Javid's migrant 'emergency'

Death in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness

Them & Us

What we saw


Workplace news

PCS Left Unity assistant general secretary election rerun

Far right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed

Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'

Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers

Ferry workers protest against 2.45 an hour pay

UCU Wales suspends FE strike action


German revolution 100 years on

Heroic martyrs of German Revolution


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Disruption of Leeds Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle

Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights

Tremendous effort sees Socialist Party smash fighting fund target in 2018

NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!

Linking LGBT+ rights to the fight for socialism

North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge

Carmarthenshire council: Unison demands no-cuts budget


International socialist news and analysis

Protests continue to rage in Sudan

Blocked for years, but the Socialist Party of Nigeria is now standing in elections


Opinion

Theatre review: Women of Aktion - the heroic story of how World War One was ended

The Socialist Inbox


 

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