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From: The Socialist issue 1064, 13 November 2019: Strike, protest, vote - Kick the Tories out

Search site for keywords: NHS - Nottingham - Black - BBC

NHS in critical condition

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Clare Wilkins, Nottingham Socialist Party

"It was never-ending, there were more and more patients being wheeled in." This was the comment of a man whose 88 year-old mother-in-law spent six-and-a-half hours waiting to be seen at the A&E Unit at Queens Medical Centre (QMC), Nottingham.

That day QMC declared a 'critical incident', which meant its ability to deliver critical services was threatened.

This is one level up from OPEL 4 ('black alert') which had been reported for several days previously - defined as an inability to deliver comprehensive care, placing patient safety at risk.

The 88 year-old woman, a retired NHS worker said, "this isn't a winter crisis, it's a Tory crisis.'

The BBC discovered that in 2018 two NHS trusts spent more than 120 days at OPEL 4.

A&E is the point at which the crisis in the NHS shows most starkly. It is a symptom of all cuts to the NHS and social care.

The crisis is a result of closures and underfunding that has worsened since 2010. One in six A&E and maternity units have been closed or downgraded or are earmarked for it.

The NHS is 100,000 staff short. 94% of NHS bosses say that buildings endanger patient safety. The Private Finance Initiative which was used to build 12.6 billion worth of hospitals, is costing the NHS 80 billion in repayments.

18% of NHS work is already privatised and it is in danger of being destroyed by a US trade deal after Brexit. The Tories refuse to sign an election pledge to say that it will not happen.

Labour, on the other hand, has promised to end all privatisation in the NHS as well as increase funding.

The NHS must be fully funded, fully staffed, public and free at the point of delivery, under the democratic control of NHS staff and users.

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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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