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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 September 2007

NHS: Our message to Labour

Keep your 'Sicko' views to yourself

A REPORT has been published for the right-wing think tank, the Kings Fund, by Sir Derek Wanless, former adviser to Gordon Brown. If accepted, it will be another nail in the coffin for a tax-funded, free at the point of use, health service.

Lois Austin

His report questions whether or not the government can continue to fully fund the NHS given the demographic changes of the next 20 years.

He blames pay and price inflation for using up nearly half of the extra 43 billion increase in NHS funding since 2002.

He completely ignores the billions spent on treating NHS patients privately instead of investing that money for the long term into NHS resources, or the fact that the NHS is ripped off by the pharmaceutical companies and spends more on drugs and equipment than any other country in Western Europe.

And incredibly he doesn't even mention the millions going out of NHS budgets for patient care and staff wages to pay PFI consortiums. And a new report by the University of Edinburgh states that PFI costs to the NHS are to increase five-fold over the next eight years from 470 million to 2.3 billion.

The report also shows that hospital trusts who signed up for PFI schemes worth more than 50 million in 2005/6 are confronted with an average increase of 4.4% of their income going to meet these payments.

This is where the money's gone. How dare Wanless try to blame NHS staff, the majority of whom are on low wages and have now been awarded an insulting pay award below the rate of inflation?

And it is because of these soaring costs and pressure from central government to cut spending that NHS hospital trusts are making yet more cuts. The government wants to reduce NHS funding by a further 1 billion over the next year. Swansea NHS Trust says it faces a 15 million deficit unless it closes 86 beds and cuts around 750 jobs (see article below).

So where is all this leading? To a trimmed-down market-driven NHS ready for privatisation. Patricia Hewitt told us when she lectured at the LSE that the NHS would remain 'free at the point of use' whether or not the services were provided by private health care companies.

This is pie in the sky. You can't control what you don't own. A parallel private service is being developed using public money and it is opening the door to a fully two-tier system and private health care insurance.

Already, insurance companies are offering deals to people for drugs that are rationed or unavailable on the NHS and insurance to those who have to wait more than six weeks for treatment on the NHS.

One brief look at the reviews of Michael Moore's new film Sicko and the despicable treatment the clear-up workers from the 9/11 attacks received makes the horrors of the US's private health care system all too clear.

We don't need the NHS 'citizens' juries' proposed by health secretary Alan Johnson to show us what kind of health service we need. We know we have to fight the cuts and privatisation of the national health service.

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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 20 September 2007:

Nationalise the banks

Economy hits a rock

Crisis will hit north east jobs

Time for a new party


Socialist Students

Fight for a living grant

What do youth think?

Student Socialist: Issue 5 out now!

Studying on a low wage

Flexible hours? Suits you sir!


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Our message to Labour

Swansea - no more cuts for cash


Socialist Party news

Victory! Campaign saves nursery

Medway schools

Lobby demands asylum for Sadiq


Socialism 2007

Socialism 2007

Make Socialism 2007 an unforgettable weekend


TUC Conference

TUC conference: Workers defy Brown

Linking the struggles together


International socialist news and analysis

Egypt: Worker militancy shows pressing need for political voice


Socialist Party review

Consumed: How markets corrupt children, infantilise adults and swallow citizens whole


Workplace news and analysis

Remploy workers fight for jobs

Defend the Burslem 12

CWU: Further national action discussed


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleNHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

triangleCoventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

triangleAngry health workers demand 15% now!

triangleUnder the microscope

triangleA Socialist Party poster held on the Saturday 12 September demonstration in Bristol, part of a day of action in solidarity with NHS & social care workers who are demanding increased pay. Photo by Mike Luff

Health:

triangleCapitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine

triangleSketch: The rule of six - some guidance from your government

triangleOur lives and livelihoods at stake

triangleUnder the microscope

PFI:

triangleCapitalism fails NHS services in Liverpool: scrap PFI!

triangleNorthern Ireland: strike action by NHS workers

triangle300 NHS nurse suicides in seven years - fully fund our health service now!

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