Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/142/7722
NHS cash is not enough!
TONY BLAIR panicked in the face of public anger over the NHS last week. He conceded that NHS spending is too low, that health workers are underpaid and billions extra needs to be given to begin to revitalise the NHS.
But, as welcome as extra money will be, it's not enough to rebuild the NHS. This is another token gesture from New Labour to try and regain credibility.
Blair's panic response exposes how little Labour has actually done for the NHS. Now people will be scrutinising these new proposals and their effect very closely.
They've deceived us many times before over the state of the NHS and its funding. But they're still doing it!
Blair's claim that his plan will take until 2006 to revitalise the NHS will mean six more miserable years for those desperate for treatment and beds and for overworked staff living on poverty pay. The government has at least £31 billion available to spend, according to the TUC. That money should be made immediately available.
But four times that amount has been given to the rich in tax cuts since 1980. There should be a wealth tax as an immediate emergency measure to stem the NHS funding crisis and provide money for other decimated services like education. But we also want a socialist programme to save the NHS not New Labour's pathetic platitudes. That means more than providing extra money.
It means not running the NHS like a business. It means stopping privatisation, which is cutting resources and worsening health workers' conditions. It means nationalising the drug and medical equipment companies under working-class control and management, to stop them ripping off the NHS.
Blair's panic measures are a desperate attempt to regain credibility after his opinion poll ratings have slumped 25%. But the health cash is not being backed up by firm promises. To ensure that New Labour begins to deliver we need to mobilise mass action by working-class people to end the NHS emergency.
In The Socialist 21 January 2000: