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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2000

Revolt grows at Labour's health plans

THE GOVERNMENT are sending out 12 million leaflets this week, asking people what their top three priorities are for the NHS. They want us to think they have an open attitude to critical views of the NHS but the opposite is the case.

Numerous health workers have been disciplined for blowing the whistle on inadequacies in the NHS. Most notably Lord Winston, the famous fertility specialist, was recently given a rocket for saying the government's promise to end the internal market was "deceitful".

NHS trusts are being packed with New Labour acolytes. Can we be confident that they will listen to working-class people's priorities?

The government's promises of new money for the NHS look increasingly threadbare as each "injection of funds" turns out to be a recycled version of the last one.

Secretary of State Alan Milburn used to say that the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), introduced by the Tories, was "the only game in town" for building new hospitals.

But since its expense and inefficiency has been exposed, the propaganda has calmed down. "The government is not driven by dogma" the NHS website says "(PFI) will only be used in cases where it offers value for money to the taxpayer and the NHS". But no explanation is offered for this 'U' turn.

The revolt over Labour's 'modernisation' of the NHS is building. Already local referendums have rejected PFI, in the case of Wakefield hospitals. In Grantham a council-run poll got an overwhelming majority for a call for the resignation of local managers, after cuts to the mother-and-child services at Grantham hospital.

Ten of the 42 councillors, doctors and other health care workers, at Wyre Forest, Kidderminster have been elected from campaigns to save local NHS facilities.

These show Labour can be made to sit up and listen if mass campaigns are organised to rebuild the NHS as an excellent service, free to all at the point of need.

Our top priorities for the NHS:

To ensure that a massive injection of funding reduces waiting lists, improves care and treatment and pays all health workers a living wage with decent hours and conditions.
Kick private profit out of the NHS. Abolish the internal market, ditch PFI and run the NHS under democratic working-class control and management.
Nationalise the drug companies, again under working-class control and management, so their huge profits can be used for public health not private gain.
Eliminate poverty and inequality - the biggest killer and cause of ill-health.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 2 June 2000:

End The Class Divide

Revolt grows at Labour's health plans

Are the dotcoms deadcoms?

Stock markets: A Giant Gambling den

22-year Israeli occupation comes to inglorious end

Palestinian teachers fight


 

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Related links:

Health:

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triangleMore blunders and profiteering in Tory track-and-trace scheme

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triangleCoronavirus pandemic news in brief

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PFI:

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triangleNorthern Ireland: strike action by NHS workers

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