Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/455/5553
The Socialist 21 September 2006 |
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Campaign to stop Hewitt's cuts
NEW LABOUR Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt is telling people not to
worry about the National Health Service. She says that threats to close
down hospitals, wards, sack staff and privatise large parts of the NHS
are not cuts and that the service is still run on the "values of the old
health service" - "We are not privatising or marketising the NHS," she
Few NHS staff would agree. At Nottingham City Hospital, part of the
merged Nottingham University Hospital Trust, 1,200 jobs are threatened.
A nurse there, speaking anonymously for fear of victimisation, told JEAN
THORPE of Nottingham Socialist Party, that things had never been so bad
at the hospital - even when Thatcher was prime minister.
"We're facing massive job losses, bed and ward closures. Morale is
rock-bottom and staff are having to compete against their colleagues for
jobs. When Patricia Hewitt visited the hospital last week, the roads on
the hospital campus were swept and cleaned up.
"That infuriates me when there aren't enough staff to clean the
wards! I was one of the staff picked to hear Hewitt speak. I asked how
she could guarantee quality patient care with these job losses - she
could not answer.
"A patient slipped past security into the meeting. When he put his
hand up to ask a question, he was told there was no more time. The
meeting demanded he should speak but again Hewitt couldn't answer his
"I don't know the full extent of the cuts but I have heard that a
respiratory ward is up for closure and half the senior staff jobs in the
respiratory directorate, plus half the beds in a health care for the
"What is also disgusting is the proposed change in pay protection.
Currently staff at City Hospital get five years' pay protection and
three years at Queen's Medical Centre. One proposal from management is
that pay protection is reduced to three months!
"We are doing all we can to build for Saturday's march which, if that
doesn't defeat the cuts, will just be the first step in a campaign to
stop these plans."