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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 August 2012

Fight for our NHS, photo Senan

Fight for our NHS, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Our health not their wealth!

A London health worker

Hinchingbrooke hospital in Cambridgeshire is in debt to the tune of 40 million as it struggles to meet costs incurred from a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme introduced by Labour.

Of course the Con-Dems' answer to the problems caused by privatisation is yet more privatisation. Circle Healthcare has been brought in to manage and 'save' the hospital.

In spite of early promises that the debt would be paid off, Circle stands to take half of the profit if Hinchingbrooke makes 6 million surplus in any year starting immediately!

Banks are endlessly bailed out with taxpayers' money so NHS staff and patients should ask why can't PFI debts accumulated by NHS trusts be cancelled. Then there would be no need for a private company to 'rescue' a hospital that has already been bled dry by the private sector.

'Savings' will be clawed back from Hinchingbrooke. Circle have already re-negotiated and reduced hospital cleaning contracts.

This is a dangerous step as hospital acquired infections may result. We saw the rise of MRSA infections in the 1990s when NHS cleaning was outsourced to the private sector. Patients admitted to hospital for routine procedures ended up in a worse state then when they went in!

TUSC NHS Credit card: The Health & Social Care Act Means: NHS Privatisation

TUSC NHS Credit card: The Health & Social Care Act Means: NHS Privatisation

Circle will also be keen to 'generate income'. They have not ruled out putting private beds into Hinchingbrooke hospital which will have an adverse impact on the much lauded early drop in waiting times at the hospital.

Experienced frontline staff are being shed as voluntary severance schemes are rolled out. Unison, the largest health union, reports that there is a drop in staff morale as many are now fearful for their jobs. Staff who are stressed in this way will not be able to focus on delivering high quality patient care.

Circle has also managed to cut a lucrative deal with Cambridgeshire NHS trust as it takes on more hip, knee and shoulder replacement operations. This is a classic example of a private provider cherry picking highly profitable, closed-ended services from the NHS.

Companies operate to make profit and Circle plans to pocket 60 million from Hinchingbrooke over the next ten years. This is money that could be going into improving NHS care rather than filling the pockets of company fat cats.

Staff and patients, led by the health unions, must unite and oppose all attempts to privatise our NHS before we lose it forever!

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In The Socialist 8 August 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

Our health not their wealth!

End the insane cycle of youth joblessness

Council tax benefit cuts

March together on 20 October and then strike together to stop all cuts

Sean Rigg inquest: damning verdict for police

Gove sneaking unqualified teachers into academies

Them & Us

London Olympics

Views on the Olympics and the opening ceremony

Transport 'customer experience' staff still fighting for Olympics bonus

Socialist Party workplace news

Vote No in Unison's local government pension scheme ballot

Swansea DVLA staff protest at embarrassment of job cuts

Support Churchill cleaners, Tyne & Wear Metro

Workplace News in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Interview with Southampton rebel councillors

TUSC: Keeping up the pressure on the austerity parties

Socialist Students organise to fight fees and cuts

Workers win Wales Austerity Games despite bosses moving the goalposts!

Growing resistance to NHS cuts shown in Redditch

Portsmouth fans fight to save Fratton Park

Brighton pensioner jailed for non-payment of council tax

Welsh Labour: Red flag or white flag?

Obituary: Frank Mills, 1939 - 2012

International socialist news and analysis

Syria: Is there an alternative to the developing civil war?

Markets force savage austerity measures on Spanish workers

Trial resumes of Kazakhstan human rights activist


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