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From The Socialist newspaper, 15 June 2011

Con-Dem health plans ignore patients and staff

Terry Pearce, Chair Bracknell Unite (personal capacity)

The Socialist's coverage of the Con-Dems' destructive Health and Social Care Bill has exposed the government's privatising agenda. Alongside 20 billion worth of cuts to services and jobs, we see the start of the fragmentation of the NHS as pieces are hived off to the private sector.

The NHS is the centrepiece of the post-war Labour government's reforms and the working class will not easily let this ideologically driven government destroy it.

We must also vigorously challenge the total lack of democratic accountability of the proposals by patients and staff. The plan to dismantle Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and replace them with GP consortiums has not gone through parliament, yet the process has already begun. Many PCTs are being run down and in many areas 'pioneer' GP consortiums are in place.

The PCTs themselves were far from democratic, but there was an element of democratic accountability with the involvement of councillors and patient groups.

But the rapidly growing GP consortiums appear to have no checks on their activities. Such GP consortiums will be responsible for spending 80 billion of our money and at present they are virtually unchecked.

The government plans to create or adapt bodies to monitor the consortiums' activities. These include Health and Wellbeing Boards, Healthwatch, the misnamed Monitor as well as the Care Quality Commission (CQC). At present only CQC appears to be in place and, judging by their pathetic role in regulating private care homes, we can have little confidence in their effectiveness.

Despite David Cameron's recent protestations that Monitor's main role was "promoting the interests of patients" its major role will still be to 'encourage' more competition in the NHS, in other words privatisation. Health and Wellbeing Boards and Healthwatch have yet to be established in most areas and where they have been, they are at an embryo stage.

In my area the GP consortium refuses to talk to the democratically elected LINks (local health watchdog) and ploughs on with no control over its activities.

Most people have no idea what's going on in their name. Except for a few Patient Participation Groups there is no accountability to the local community.

The health unions and local anti-cuts groups must take up these questions of democratic accountability and demand that no decisions are taken in our names without accountability to patients and health employees.

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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.

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In The Socialist 15 June 2011:


Fighting the cuts

Strike 30 June

Workers turn up the heat in Southampton

Customs & Revenue staff strike against attendance management policy

No cuts to English language classes!

Hands off our pensions!

Carmarthenshire council day club closure lobby


NHS news & campaigning

Tories make token changes - save the NHS

Con-Dem health plans ignore patients and staff

NHS "listening events" - Flip chart 'democracy'


National Shop Stewards Network

NSSN conference - serious and inspiring preparation for battles to come


Socialist Party news and analysis

Fighting anti-cuts meeting in Scotland hears socialist alternative

Child poverty increasing under the Con-Dems

Say no to government's slave labour programme

Winterbourne View - fight privatisation, end abuses

London 'Slutwalk' protest: Fight sexism, discrimination and cuts

News in brief

Dewsbury rejects racist EDL

To hell with for-profit education


Socialist Party feature

The growing housing scandal


Socialist Party workplace news

Tube drivers prepare to strike

Sheffield university strikers more determined

Unison conference - No to pension attacks

Unison NEC elections - left retakes lost ground


International socialist news and analysis

Austerity and anger in Greece


 

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