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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 January 2021

Protect the NHS

Funding. Pay. PPE. Public ownership

NHS workers protest outside Aintree hospital for a pay rise on 26 August, photo Liverpool SP

NHS workers protest outside Aintree hospital for a pay rise on 26 August, photo Liverpool SP   (Click to enlarge)

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:


"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

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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.
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 6 January 2021:


Feature

2020 - a year which drove home the catastrophic failures of capitalism


Schools

Workers' action wins Tory U-turn on school safety


News

3 lockdowns, 20+ U-turns ... We can't trust the Tories

Nottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

UNICEF feeds children in the UK for the first time

News in brief

Hospital security staff on strike for 12 an hour

British Gas workers on strike against fire and re-hire pay cut


NHS

Protect the NHS - Funding, Pay, PPE, Public ownership

Protect lives and livelihoods, fight to defend the NHS


Engels

Engels on the origins of women's oppression


Universities

Universities: refund the rent, cancel the fees, for fully funded, publicly owned education

University teaching moves online in England


Reader's opinion

Books that inspired me: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Technology and AI response: Capitalists only invest for profit


 

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