Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/448/5335
The Socialist 13 July 2006 |
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NHS: Uniting to fight the cuts
Demonstration in Stoke against NHS cuts earlier this
NHS WORKERS, patients and members of the public will march in
Birmingham on Saturday 15 July. They will come from all over the
Midlands and beyond.
Andy Bentley, secretary North Staffs NHS SOS Campaign
The University Hospital of North Staffordshire is
set to lose 1,200 NHS jobs and 160 beds. Thousands more have been
announced across the Midlands including 820 at Sandwell and West
Birmingham NHS trust. The savage cuts are being repeated nationwide.
Unless we fight back, our health service will be decimated.
New Labour's big business friends are circling like vultures at the
prospect of the rich pickings to be had through privatisation.
Even before all these attacks NHS staff are working flat out just to
keep pace with their workload. Staff leaving are not being replaced,
patients still lie on trolleys for hours, wait years for treatment and
in some cases are being refused care.
A final year nurse at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth hospital looked on
the Web for local job vacancies when she finished her training and the
nearest she could find was in Maidstone in Kent! Hospital bosses have
been telling training nurses that they can get a job in Australia after
This demonstration will be a major step forward in bringing together
the many campaigns springing up across the region to defend our National
Health Service. But why is it that the North Staffs NHS SOS Campaign is
coordinating this demonstration? That's simple - because the big NHS
trade unions are not!
UNISON, RCN and other unions have given support locally to many
individual campaigns to defend jobs and closures. But why have these
unions not called a national demonstration?
There is massive opposition to what Blair and his so-called Labour
government are doing to the NHS. If all these cuts go through then the
hands of the leaders of all the main health service unions will be
stained with the blood of the NHS. They will never be forgiven by
millions of people in Britain.
Why are they not balloting for strike action (making sure emergency
cover is provided)? One day strike action or even the threat of it could
force the government to back down, save thousands of jobs and beds, and
in the long term protect the lives of many more patients.
And why are UNISON and other health service unions handing over
millions of pounds of their members' money to New Labour? It's like
paying someone to knock your house down!
NHS workers and others get ripped off in hundreds of ways already. We
don't want to hand over more of our hard-earned cash so that Blair and
his big business friends can get even richer. Far better to support
those that are actually fighting to defend our NHS!
West Midlands march to defend the NHS
Saturday 15 July
Assemble 11am at City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham.
March to rally in Centenary Square at 1pm.