Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1115/31800
Protect the NHS
Funding. Pay. PPE. Public ownership
The Tory government's plea to "protect the NHS" is rank hypocrisy. The blame for the depth and scale of the unfolding health crisis lies squarely with Johnson's government.
They are responsible for the queues of ambulances outside of A&E and hospital wards bursting at overcapacity and without enough staff. They are responsible for failed test-and-trace and the drive to keep people in the workplace and in schools.
The problem for the Tories is that "protecting the NHS" is at odds with protecting the profits of their big business mates.
The government handed out lucrative contracts to their friends so they could make a profit providing PPE for health workers, and now again there are reports of shortages. All health workers should have access to full PPE, not just those working on Covid wards.
Hospitals are overflowing, but the Nightingale hospitals remain closed - the NHS doesn't have enough staff to open them. There are reports of nurses that are meant to look after just one patient on a ventilator being asked to take responsibility for three. Health workers have been driven from the NHS by Tory-imposed low pay, intolerable workloads, and extortionate training fees.
To truly protect the NHS we need workers' control and public ownership. The socialist party fights for:
- An emergency increase in funding for the NHS and social care
- Full PPE for all staff, for production and distribution to be taken into public ownership under democratic workers' control
- For a 15% pay rise for NHS staff
- For the scrapping of training fees and for free emergency training for staff to respond to the pandemic
- For the NHS to take over private healthcare facilities to be run in the interests of all
- Nationalise the big pharmaceutical companies, including the testing labs and vaccine production and distribution
- For a socialist plan of production and workers' control and management of the pandemic response
"We're running on empty. The pressure on NHS staff is becoming unbearable.
Staff are being moved wards numerous times to cover sickness. New wards are being opened last minute to cope with the pressure. Wards already running on unsafe staffing levels are being stretched to breaking point.
Lots of the media are calling this a Covid crisis. The reality is this is exposing the crisis the NHS has being hurtling towards for years.
Tory and New Labour policies of cuts, closures, and privatisation have come to bite and its frontline staff are facing the repercussions. The need for socialist plan for the NHS is clear."
Matt, NHS Nurse
In The Socialist 6 January 2021: