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Press


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1104, 7 October 2020: Tories put profit first: Gambling with our jobs and lives

Search site for keywords: Privatised - Socialist - Press - NHS

Contact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

  (Click to enlarge)

An NHS contact tracer

On Saturday 3 October, at 2pm, I got a text from NHS Professionals: "CALL TO ACTION we have an urgent requirement to fill additional shifts this weekend. Please log on to book into shifts."

I did book four hours on Sunday. For most of the summer, I had very few people who had tested positive for Covid-19 assigned to me to call during shifts, and very few shifts available to book. The past few weeks I've had a few more shifts and three or four calls to make.

On Sunday I had 20! Each call normally takes 30 to 45 minutes, but most aren't answered and go to voicemail.

There were no shifts available on Sunday to book for Monday or Tuesday. But Monday afternoon, I got another text: "URGENT: Test and Trace shifts available for today evening and throughout the day tomorrow."

The privatised and centralised Serco/Sitel system seems to be in chaos. Just about everyone except the government now agrees with what the Socialist has argued from the start - contact tracing should be a locally based, properly funded public service.

Where has the much-vaunted 'efficiency' of profit-run big business got us?


Stop press: local tracing cut back

As the Socialist was going to press, contact tracers had been told not to inform local health protection teams of positive cases who work or attend any educational setting.

Apparently, single cases in these settings - obvious risks for wide spread of the virus - are no longer followed up locally!

As an individual, I can't know whether there's a single or multiple cases in a school or workplace. That's why it needs escalation, so local follow-up can stop the virus spreading.

Even if local teams still somehow receive notification of multiple cases, they will lose the advance warning provided by single cases.

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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.
  • 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.
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