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From The Socialist newspaper, 10 April 2019

Budget deficits. Cancer service privatisation. Vacant posts. 100,000 outsourced. And victories!

Stop Tory NHS destruction

Marching to save the NHS, 3.2.18, photo Mary Finch

Marching to save the NHS, 3.2.18, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Lucy Nuttall, Hull Socialist Party

The NHS is suffering an unprecedented crisis, under the pressure of government cutbacks.

The Tory policy, until recently, of limiting the NHS to annual budget rises of just 1% since 2010 - while private PFI debts have rocketed, and despite an increasing elderly population requiring care - has pushed many hospitals into financial meltdown.

King's College hospital trust in London has reported an annual deficit between 180 and 191 million. "The biggest overspend in NHS history", according to the Guardian. The NHS as a whole had a 960 million deficit in 2018.

Is it any coincidence that among the backdrop of a failing NHS, life expectancy has stopped increasing, with many working-class areas even showing a decrease?

The real reason the NHS is failing is because profit-hungry Tories refuse to provide adequate funding, continue to privatise, and make the recruitment of enough staff impossible.

There are 39,148 vacant nursing posts in the UK, thanks to the introduction of tuition fees and scrapping of bursaries for student nurses.

Opposition

However, in response to these cuts, all around the country, inspiring campaigns continue to fight. In Oxford, huge public opposition and a 10,000-strong petition has put a temporary stopgap in plans to privatise cancer scanning services.

Even Oxford NHS bosses have warned privatisation could mean an 'inferior service'. This truly could be a matter of life or death.

NHS privatisation doesn't just affect patients, but staff too. 100,000 low-paid cleaners, porters, catering staff and security guards - employed by private contractors in hospitals, and therefore not entitled to NHS wages - are suffering from an increasing pay divide compared to their public sector colleagues.

This has been successfully fought against at Liverpool Women's Hospital. In a heroic strike, low-paid, privately employed workers won the same minimum wage paid to NHS employees, as well as the same rates for unsociable hours, overtime and weekends.

The creation of the NHS was an immense victory for the entire working class. It needs to be fought for, defended, and built upon - not just by health unions, but by the trade union movement as a whole.

We need mass demonstrations, building support for coordinated strike action, to kick out the Tories and reverse public sector cuts.

The Socialist Party fights for a reversal of all cuts and privatisation. A minimum wage of at least 10 an hour and a trade union struggle to win a real living wage. And a fully funded, publicly owned, democratically run, free NHS, accessible to all.

The fundamental truth is that under capitalism - a system based upon the ruling elites' pursuit of profit at any cost, even at the expense of human lives - we will never have a truly fair society. We need to fight for a socialist society that is run in the interests of everyone, not just a tiny rich minority.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 10 April 2019:


What we think

Corbyn must demand general election, defend workers' interests and fight for a socialist Brexit


Climate change

Organise against climate change, austerity and capitalism

Only socialism can stop capitalism's plastic problem


International socialist news and analysis

Algeria: Bouteflika is finished but the Algerian revolution is not!

China: police state in Xinjiang under global spotlight


Local elections

Local government in crisis: councillors can fight cuts!


Socialist Party news and analysis

Boot out the Tories - end austerity

Stop Tory NHS destruction

Gender pay gap widening

Them & us


Workplace news and analysis

PCS: vote Yes for action, back socialists in the elections!

NEU conference: organise for the key battles to come

Swindon workers discuss action to save Honda jobs

Southampton Hospital security workers strike

Support the Glasgow Airport pay and pensions strike

London Overground cleaners strike for better pay


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Leicester Socialist Party letter for no-cuts budget

Walthamstow: end the school funding crisis

Reject the rotten NUS 'reforms'

Leicester NHS Trust and the brutal reality of cuts

Social cleansing continues in Southwark

Newcastle anti-fascist demo

South Yorkshire Freedom Riders - still battling on

Gateshead FC crisis: save our Heed!

Health Campaigns Together AGM success


Opinion

Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

'Traitors': Cold War cloak and daggers as capitalist powers spy on allies


 

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