Save our health service

NEW LABOUR Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt says she won’t ‘bail out’
NHS hospitals that are in debt. In fact she is demanding £700 million
worth of cuts this winter.

Outrageously Hewitt calls Karl Marx in her defence, saying: "I don’t
know whether Marx ever said waste is theft from the working class but he
should have done."

She blames hospitals for keeping patients in hospital for too long –
it seems ‘bed blockers’ cause all the problems. After
government-inspired cuts have closed or privatised council-run care
homes, New Labour want cash-strapped social services departments and an
increasingly bankrupt NHS to squabble over who looks after released

But, as our reports below show, campaigns across Britain are fighting
for a real solution to the NHS’s crisis.

Cardiff Royal Infirmary

THE CAMPAIGN to re-open the Cardiff Royal Infirmary (CRI) moves up a
gear with a mass lobby of the Welsh Assembly on 30 November.

Dave Bartlett, secretary, CRISIS, Cardiff Royal Infirmary – Save Its Services

CRISIS’s campaigning work gained a big victory with the decision not
to sell off the CRI land. But now Cardiff Local Health Board is
discussing what new facilities should be situated there and for us only
one facility is acceptable – the hospital we were promised in 1996!

We won £5 million from the Welsh Assembly to fund new facilities at
the CRI site, so the land doesn’t have to be sold. But now we have to
fight to demand a hospital at CRI.

It’s down to the Assembly to demand a hospital and an end to the huge
waiting times and waiting lists that afflict the NHS in Wales. We will
hand in the 70,000 signature petition for a new CRI.

We’ll have a chance to see the new £60 million debating chamber the
Assembly built itself while working-class people all over Wales demand
new hospitals.

The lobby begins at 12 noon on Thursday 30 November at National
Assembly building, Cardiff Bay. Minibus transport available from St.
German’s Church Hall at 11.30 am.


OVER THIS summer Lincolnshire people have watched the local NHS trust
try to plug a £8 million budget deficit. There are plans to close five
hospital wards and cut back on frontline services like ambulances and
put more responsibility onto the voluntary sector.

Marc Glasscoe

On 1 October around 1,500 people demonstrated against the planned
closure of the accident and emergency ward in Grantham. When a senior
nurse at Grantham complained about the effect the cuts were having – he
was suspended!

On 19 November over 100 people protested against the closure of a
ward at Skegness hospital. On 26 November, people will gather at Lincoln
County Hospital in a demonstration against the cuts organised by UNISON
and other public-sector unions.

Meanwhile we’re watching Lincolnshire County Council cut back on
education by merging local primary schools on the grounds that class
sizes are too small!

Throughout the summer, Socialist Party members have been raising the
issue of NHS cuts, demanding an end to privatisation, a massive increase
in health service funding and the rebuilding of the NHS under democratic
workers’ control.

We will again be at Saturday’s demonstration, explaining the need for
a decent, democratically run health service.