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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 June 2011

Con-Dems still plan to destroy NHS - Save our health service!

Andrew Walton, Unison rep (personal capacity), Leicestershire Partnership Trust

The Con-Dems' tinkering with the Health and Social Care Bill has not stopped their assault on the NHS or their agenda of privatisation. In the teeth of working class anger, a few token concessions have been made.

But all three main parties remain wedded to abolishing the founding principles of the NHS: that it is free at the point of need, provides comprehensive health care for all and is nationally owned and paid for by everybody.

The NHS is still due to be broken up into GP consortiums. The new proposals do not reinstate the secretary of state's 'duty to provide' the health service in the Bill. Without this, there is no National Health Service.

Private companies will still be free to profit from illness; pharmaceutical companies will still rip off the NHS to the tune of billions of pounds; and Foundation Trusts will still be competing with each other, rather than a nationalised health service organised in the best interests of patients.

Patients and health workers need more than a few cosmetic changes; we have to fight to ensure the Health and Social Care Bill is scrapped altogether.

Cuts and closures

We still face NHS cuts and closures. NHS workers are having their pensions slashed. The NHS may be privatised slightly more slowly, with slightly more 'consultation' and the 'involvement' of doctors and nurses.

Yet former New Labour health secretary Alan Milburn has complained in the Tory press that the Con-Dems have 'stepped back' in their privatisation plans.

New Labour and the Con-Dems remain committed to the eventual abolition of the NHS. They speak of patient choice, but what choice do we have except to fight back against huge cuts being made to NHS services?

We are fighting a weak coalition which has already made u-turns and concessions in the face of opposition, for example on privatisation of forests and delaying their plans to sell off the Royal Mail. After their drubbing in the May elections, the Lib Dems are desperate to be seen to be 'moderating' the Tories.

Business comes first

The Bill is part of an ideologically driven attack against all our public services. Organised workers within fighting trade unions are a huge obstacle to these reforms.

All three parties of big business want to smash the trade unions organised in the public sector. We must step up the battle to protect our NHS and all our public services.

Workers fighting back against cuts do not need to be lectured to by millionaire politicians and their fat cat mates, who do not rely on or care about our public services. We need national, united industrial action in opposition to the government.

The Socialist Party stands for kicking big business out of the NHS. Unlike stage-managed consultation exercises, we would put health workers and patients in charge, with decisions made democratically.

However, unless we abolish the rule of profit and put in its place a socialist society, we will continually have to fight for crumbs from the table of the rich.

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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 22 June 2011:

Socialist Party feature

As the cuts bite, millions ask: 'Does it have to be like this?'

Building for 30th June

Con-Dems' pension attack - brutal class warfare must be fought

POA to hold protest meetings

Busting the public sector pensions myths!

Staffordshire NSSN builds support for 30 June action

Hillingdon workers back the pensions strike

Socialist Party workplace news

Strike action to defend Royal Mail jobs

Leeds Unison urges members to reject council's final offer

Coleg Morgannwg: Victory over victimisation

Barnsley lecturers fight job cuts

Unison conferences discuss action on pensions

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party news and analysis

Housing crisis

Con-Dems still plan to destroy NHS - Save our health service!

News in brief

International socialist news and analysis

Greece's debt crisis threatens worldwide banking system

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Finsbury Park - No to A4e cheap labour schemes

Southern Cross bosses demand huge cuts in pay and conditions

Reviews and comments

Sri Lanka's killing fields

Readers' comment: apprentice sexists

Fighting the cuts

Southampton: strikes set to continue

200 workers challenge Labour council cuts

Labour MP fails to answer questions on cuts


Comprehensive education under attack

Keep Tidemill in public hands

Spreading to primaries?


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