Don’t let ‘fat cats’ axe our NHS

THE CHIEF executive of Huddersfield’s two primary care trusts
recently described local midwives as a "disgrace" for daring to oppose
plans to centralise consultant-led maternity services from Huddersfield
to Halifax!

Dr Jackie Grunsell

The "disgrace" is that he and the chief executive of the Calderdale
and Huddersfield trust earned over £900,000 in the last year between
them – enough to employ around 34 midwives for a year. Their combined
salaries for five years would pay off the financial deficit that exists
across the local health economy.

The so-called consultation meetings the trust bosses have called over
the past weeks have been packed with people furious at what they see as
a done deal. Our ‘Save our NHS’ campaign has been inundated by people
wanting to get active.

Last Saturday over 1,000 people took part in our ballot, over 99%
opposed the plans to transfer maternity, children’s and surgical
services out of Huddersfield. 98% also said they opposed privatisation
and would prefer a publicly funded NHS.

One pensioner, who had never done anything like this before, has
single-handedly collected over 1,000 signatures on petitions. Another
told us how, in the nineteenth century, mill workers paid a penny of
their ninepence weekly wage towards the building of the Huddersfield
Royal Infirmary.

They have no intention of letting unelected managers take our
hard-won services away now. Across the board, health workers and public
are showing their determination to fight. Save our NHS posters and
petitions have been circulated to every department of the hospital
where, in some cases, staff don’t know if they will have jobs under the

We are calling upon the council to call a referendum to get a true
picture of public opinion and a demonstration is planned for early

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A socialist programme for the NHS

  • End privatisation. Bring
    all healthcare into one nationally planned and properly financed,
    publicly-owned service.

  • Nationalise the
    pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy chains and medical supply
    industry and integrate them into a democratically controlled NHS.

  • Abandon PFI, no more
    profiteering by building companies and banks.

  • Fund new hospital
    building programmes with public money, using direct labour.

  • Genuine democratic
    control of the NHS, involving the trade unions, patients, carers, and
    elected representatives. Senior managers should be accountable to
    elected bodies.

  • A minimum of £8 per hour
    and a 35-hour week for all health workers.

  • Free and accessible
    dental care for all. Abolish prescription charges.

  • Fight for a socialist
    society where poverty and inequality – the biggest killers and the
    greatest causes of ill-health – could become problems of the past.