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From The Socialist newspaper, 18 August 2000

Public health not private profit

New labour's nhs plan announced 7,000 extra beds by 2004 of which 5,000 will be intermediate care beds. Yet health officials in North Staffordshire want to slash the number of long-stay hospital beds from 416 to 163 at seven elderly care hospitals in North Staffordshire.

Socialist Party member, Alan Holdaway told The Socialist: " Is this the real plan to scale down the hospitals by closures, and tendering out work to the private sector? The elderly have worked all their lives and have paid into the NHS. The NHS belongs to them.

"Now at their time of need , they are closing down long stay hospitals and pensioners are forced to sell their homes to pay for long-term health care or are forced into the private sector."

Elsewhere, health workers at Dudley Group of Hospitals are taking action against privatisation. From 15-18 of August, involving 600 staff. The mood is very confident with support from clinical staff and the general public. Local union branches are also giving support.

Workers are striking against the transfer of their jobs to the private sector under Private Finance Initiative (PFI). They are determined to keep their jobs under the NHS.

If they succeed, in forcing the trust to keep their jobs in the NHS, this could end the current PFI projects that are being proposed for the hospitals.

But when Blair claims that more money than ever is going in to the NHS, we ask, where is the money going? Despite Blair's talk of modernising the NHS, there are still cuts in wages and conditions, cuts in service provision and dirty, crumbling NHS buildings. Whipps Cross hospital in east London, is run by Forest Health Care Trust, whose chief executive earns 90,000 a year. Yet patients still wait eight hours in the casualty department and porters at the hospital have had their jobs privatised by multinational ISS Mediclean.

It's clear, whatever Blair says, any health system which allows private companies in to run services is always going to be run for profit.

The Socialist supports the Dudley hospital workers fighting to retain services and jobs in the NHS. We also campaign for a properly run NHS, under democratic workers control and management, under a socialist health system, where services are run for need not profit!

Demo for Dudley Strikers: Saturday 19th August, 11am, Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley

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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 18 August 2000:

School leavers, students, young workers facing an uncertain future

Public health not private profit

An outpouring of anger

Standing up to the "council dictators"

Leon Trotsky: An Enduring Socialist Legacy

Fighting the fascist threat in Germany

A global warning

Aldi day of action


 

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