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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 July 2006

Save our hospital

I LIVE in Runcorn on an estate only a ten minute walk away from Halton Hospital. This is a vital service for those elderly and infirm on the estate including my own mother, who relies heavily on its services.

Simon Swanick (PCS Wirral branch - personal capacity)

In 2001 Halton Hospital merged with Warrington Hospital to form North Cheshire Hospitals Trust, with some services such as accident and emergency being transferred there. Now Halton Hospital's 1,000-strong workforce are fighting management plans to close five wards and transfer acute medical services and high dependency beds to Warrington.

A UNISON spokesperson asked what would happen if complications arose during day surgery, they were told "patients would be put in an ambulance and taken to Warrington".

Hospital bosses believe that there's no longer enough staff, cash or resources to fund two 24-hour sites. They claim that a new £8.5 million critical care unit at Warrington and £6.5 million expansion of additional services on both sites is the only viable solution.

How can these people justify the wholesale closure of one of Runcorn's most needed hospitals? Only last month, the Cheshire and Merseyside NHS Treatment Centre was opened on the same site as Halton Hospital. It's one of three privately owned, publicly funded hospitals within the North-West.

Is this what hospital bosses believe is the way forward for our public healthcare? They're moving vital, acute services not only out of the area, but into a site with virtually no access by public transport at taxpayer's expense. And then to add insult to injury they've opened a privately owned hospital on the same site well before the hospital has even closed!

We must stand together to protect our local services. Stop them being broken up and sold to the highest bidder, whilst using our own taxes, and demanding that we pay for those services we would have received had the original hospital not been broken up!

Protect NHS jobs. Protect our public services. Stop privatisation!

Public meeting: Fighting cuts to the NHS in Merseyside and Cheshire

Thursday 20 July, 7.30pm, Casa club, 29 Hope Street, Liverpool (city centre). Guest speaker Simon Swanick, local trade unionist and Runcorn anti-cuts campaigner.

"Motivation" boss style in NHS

IN AN attempt to show how much on board he was with private business, Marc Britnell, chief executive of Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, said he'd talked to supermarket giant, Tesco, about how they dealt with human resources (personnel) issues and to BMW about how to motivate the workforce.

Clare Wilkins, Birmingham Socialist Party

Presumably that's not in the same way that BMW 'motivated' 13,000 Land Rover and Rover workers in 2001 by pulling out of both companies with no prior warning!

Britnell sought help from Tesco and BMW because he's proposing that performance pay is introduced at the hospital with pay dependent on 'patient satisfaction'. He said that debate had started with the trade unions and added "you can imagine the objections from the clinicians."

The government wants private firms to help hospitals push through so-called reforms and to become more 'cost-effective' (i.e. make cuts in jobs and closures of wards and services). Instead of making a profit, the government wants to save a packet on the NHS.

The National Health Service was set up in 1948 to provide health care to everyone, free at the point of delivery. The NHS is not a market or a playground for private companies. No to job losses, cuts and closures!

Sheffield Socialist Party public meeting: Sack the bosses, not NHS workers!

Wednesday 19 July, 7.30pm, Grovesnor House Hotel, Charter Square (accessible venue), Sheffield.

Speakers: Dr Jackie Grunsell (Save Huddersfield NHS councillor) and Jon Smith (GMB branch sec, Sheffield Children's Hospital)

CAMPAIGNERS ACROSS west Wiltshire will join in a mass demonstration starting at Trowbridge hospital at midday on 15 July. They aim to show West Wiltshire Primary Care Trust (PCT) the massive opposition to the closure of Trowbridge Hospital and the other hospitals in the PCT, all of which are threatened with closure.

Marches have been held across west Wiltshire to protest at these closures, including at Westbury, Warminster, Bradford on Avon and Melksham.

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In The Socialist 13 July 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS: Uniting to fight the cuts

Hewitt hides from health protesters

Save our hospital

TUC lobby

Youth and Education

Low Pay,No Way!

Parents win High Court victory

Socialist Party campaigns

Welfare Reform Bill scapegoats disabled people!

Fighting the far-right BNP

Wales launches Campaign for New Workers' Party

International socialist news and analysis

Israeli regime’s air invasion of Lebanon threatens regional war

Another stolen presidency in Mexico?

Netherlands: Coalition government falls apart

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

RMT conference: Striking back against privatisation

"Join the union to change the union"

Socialist Party feature

How the farmworkers got organised

National Blood Service: Fighting job cuts

Socialist Party review

'Storming heaven': Battle for Spain - The Spanish Civil War

Socialist Party National committee report

Build the Socialist Party


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