The Socialist 14 July 2021 |
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NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise
Socialist Party placards, London 3 July NHS march. Photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Matt, NHS Nurse
The Tories are attempting to push their latest attacks on the NHS through parliament with the new health and care bill.
The bill includes newly set up Integrated Care Systems (ICS), that will see the NHS broken up into 42 separate boards, with private companies like Virgin Care sat on them, responsible for their own budgets. These will be the bodies that oversee localised cuts and privatisation of our services.
The complete disgrace that is privatised social care, with huge profits being made by companies delivering care in the community and in care homes, will continue.
The Tories' naked drive for profit and the backroom deals throughout Covid-19 have clearly highlighted the interests of the government. From the disastrous Serco track-and-trace costing £36 billion, to the multitude of disastrous PPE contracts - all have shown the corruption and cronyism underlying Johnson's government.
Money is clearly not an issue when it comes to contracts for the Tories' big business mates. But when it comes to workers on the frontline that have delivered care throughout the pandemic, it's a different story!
The government has recommended a 1% pay rise, and we await the proposals of the delayed Pay Review Body. NHS staff have faced a pay freeze for over a decade of Tory rule, but the cost of living keeps going up. Some 40,000 nursing vacancies remain unfilled, nurses routinely post their stories of hardship on social media: of how they need to use food banks or face going hungry at the end of the month.
A mass recruitment of NHS staff must be coupled with a 15% pay rise, free training and the abolition of student nurse fees.
The answer to the problems facing the NHS and social care is a publicly owned, fully integrated, fully funded and democratically run service.
The need for our unions to step up and fight for the NHS has never been greater. The Tories have shown they cannot be trusted with our NHS and Covid-19 has just reaffirmed that.
Health workers are exhausted but angry. If the trade union leaders gave a clear lead in the fight for a 15% pay rise and against the health and care bill, it would inspire huge support from workers and youth.