Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 February 2008

London's health care under further attack

YOU CAN see what the growing gap between the rich and poor means in life and death terms by looking at health care in London. If you travel just seven stops on the Jubilee tube line from Westminster to Canning Town in London's east end, the average life expectancy for men plummets from 77.7 years to 70.7 years.

Chris Newby

Infant mortality stands at 8.1 per thousand births in the poorer borough of Haringey in north London compared to 2.7 per thousand births in the more prosperous area of Richmond. Yet health funding in north-east London, with some of England's lowest life expectancies, is 1,090 per head of population compared to north-west London with funding of 1,311.

This is the situation that confronted Lord Darzi, surgeon and government health minister, when he produced his report on London health care, A framework for action.

Private sector

He writes in this document about wanting to drastically improve health care for Londoners and that he feels "passionately that Londoners deserve world class health care." But throughout his report are statements such as: "these changes are necessary not just to improve services but also to make future activity affordable" and: "the private sector will also be a partner in making this framework happen."

The key changes that he proposes are the abolition of all district general hospitals in London and replacing them with a series of specialist treatment centres, smaller local hospitals and polyclinics (larger GPs' surgeries with additional facilities such as pharmacies and facilities for minor operations).

Darzi talks of the need to develop specialist hospitals so that health workers would be treating enough patients to develop their skills. Darzi hopes that polyclinics bring health services closer to the community. The aims of more specialist hospitals and more community services are laudable but this should not be at the expense of maintaining and improving already overstretched local services.

What is apparent in this report is the drive to cut costs to the scale of 1.5 billion and the increased involvement of the private sector. The day after Darzi released his report, health secretary Alan Johnson announced private companies' involvement in the provision of these polyclinics.


IF THESE proposals happen, they will devastate health care in London with half of the capital's Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments being closed. London's population is expected to rise 8% by 2016, but Darzi proposes a 6% cut in the number of beds.

In Sidcup in south-east London, the local NHS trust is using this report as justification for its plans to close the A&E department and other services at Queen Mary's hospital. In the four local hospital trusts including Sidcup there is a "legacy debt" of 180 million.

Sidcup's hospital trust is paying the price for not being locked into a very costly Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal.

The other three trusts - Woolwich, Lewisham and Bromley - are. This makes it cheaper to cut services in Sidcup and sell the land rather than to cut services at these hospitals with PFI contracts that they are locked into for another 30 years.

With services being cut in Sidcup, it would make the journey time to find similar services a lot longer for people and would put massive pressure on the other hospitals. Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich would face a 47% increase, 6,000 extra patients a year, in the number of emergencies it would have to deal with without any significant increase in its income.

The money is there already that could dramatically improve the level and quality of health care throughout Britain, not just in London. PFI is having a devastating effect on NHS funding. NHS trusts are paying 52 billion over 30-60 year contracts for original construction costs of 8.5 billion. This could rise to between 91 billion and 170 billion according to an MPs' report.

The government should immediately cancel these PFI contracts and bring all NHS buildings and land back into public ownership, and bring an end to the marketisation and privatisation that currently exists in the NHS.

'Consultations' are already taking place in London on these proposals. We urge as many people as possible to get along to these consultations to make the case for an NHS that is genuinely publicly owned and financed and free at the point of use.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 20 February 2008:

No wage cuts! Fund equal pay


Troops out of Iraq now!

Socialist Party news

Stop the witch-hunt: Defend the Sheridan 7

Prison officers fight Labour's strike ban

Battle for Shropshire schools goes on

Coventry protests at Widdecombe's attacks

Football: Top of the League for greed

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

Northern Rock - Labour's reluctant nationalisation

1918-2008: Clause 4 and nine decades of workers' struggles

Record fall in home ownership

Socialist Party NHS campaign

London's health care under further attack

Private clinics fail

Hospitals "stacking" patients

Fighting back and building a demo

"Not making sufficient profit"

Socialist Students

Universities in crisis: Fees favour the rich

Exeter students fight privatisation

Nottingham defends democracy

International socialist news and analysis

Kosovan independence - a dangerous mirage?

Greece: Second general strike in two months

CWI school in Latin America

Socialist Party review

Science, Marxism and the big bang

Socialist Party workplace news

It's official - Unison launches witch-hunt on Socialist Party

Socialist gains in Unison branch elections

Collection cuts and bullying equals bin strike!

Victory for council street wardens

Workplace news in brief

Rail pension dispute

Union merger: OILC and RMT

Marching against single status

Solidarity with Pakistan workers


Home   |   The Socialist 20 February 2008   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

triangleHands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth

triangleWhat's behind the surge in eating disorders?

triangleTories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act


triangleCampaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened

triangleSocialist Party congress 2018

triangleBelper hospital threatened

triangleThree major West Wales hospitals could close


triangleNorthern health campaigns conference discusses the fightback

triangleNHS we're ready to fight

trianglePrivate profit out of our NHS


triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

triangleCarillion crisis exposes PFI chaos


triangleSave our NHS

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Refugee Rights campaigners on the 17.3.18 anti-racism demo - pics


Socialist Party

Socialist Party congress 2018



Strike continues: set dates for next national action


Socialist Party

Members dig deep into their pockets to support the party


North West

Campaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened



Swansea Labour council votes for cuts



Derby public meeting: Women's Lives Matter



Seeing-off the bigoted, billionaire toff!



Continuing the fighting tradition of working class women



Workplace news in brief



Leicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy



Leaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise



We feel that we will win - a striker speaks



Woolwich ferry workers win automation campaign



UCU strike: bosses on the run

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018