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From The Socialist newspaper, 19 September 2012

NHS: Condition critical

'On the brink of collapse'

Marching through Woolwich against PFI cuts to the Queen Elizabeth hospital, part of the South London Health Trust which has gone into administration, photo R Shrives

Marching through Woolwich against PFI cuts to the Queen Elizabeth hospital, part of the South London Health Trust which has gone into administration, photo R Shrives   (Click to enlarge)

As the government-led health cuts go deeper and as privatisation measures expand, a new report by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has warned that the National Health Service is "on the brink of collapse".

With up to 30 billion of cuts being implemented over the next few years the report - Hospitals on the Edge - shows that the number of NHS beds has decreased by over 30% in the past 25 years, despite a 37% increase in emergency admissions.

This widening gap between diminishing resources and demand for services, which began under previous governments, is accelerating under the Con-Dems.

And yet health authorities continue to push the government line of closing Accident and Emergency departments, merging hospitals and substituting 'urgent care' walk-in centres for acute services.

The RCP's damning report into shrinking NHS resources comes only months after the passage of the almost universally criticised Health and Social Care Act - a piece of legislation designed to drive the final nail into the coffin of the NHS in England with its widespread privatisation measures. Measures, incidentally, which the Labour party had embarked upon in office.

However, it is still possible to pull the NHS back from the precipice of destruction.

A trade union-led campaign, linking up the many local community NHS campaigns, could, through a programme of coordinated industrial action, demonstrations and other protests, pull the rug from under this hated but weak coalition government.

Fightback needed to save public health service

Marching through Woolwich against PFI cuts to the Queen Elizabeth hospital, part of the South London Health Trust which has gone into administration, photo R Shrives

Marching through Woolwich against NHS cuts, photo R Shrives   (Click to enlarge)

On Saturday 15 September some 3,000 protesters marched, with rallies en route, to converge on Ealing Common, west London, in their campaign to save the A&Es at four local hospitals.

On the same day around 200 marched from Harlesden to Central Middlesex Hospital to oppose north west London NHS' plans for closing the A&E department at Central Middlesex and a number of other hospitals in the area.

And in Woolwich, south London, 150 demonstrators marched against threatened cuts to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital - part of the South London Health Trust which has gone into administration after being bankrupted by exorbitant private finance initiative (PFI) charges.

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In The Socialist 19 September 2012:

Socialist Party news and analysis

We can beat Con-Dems' austerity

All forces to the point of attack against austerity

NHS: Condition critical

Cable launches new attack on workers' rights

Global warming: Capitalists skating on thin ice

Them & Us

International socialist news and analysis

Marikana miners remain defiant


Stop the deportation of London Met students

Interview with NUS vice-president for union development

No to Gove's counter-reforms

Socialist Party feature

Hillsborough disaster: Truth is out, now justice

Socialist Party workplace news

Sparks' picket blockades Crossrail site

Workers die on tower cranes - Con-Dems cut safety regulations

HMRC seeks to axe workers' childcare

Workplace news in brief

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save Oaklands Pool - "This is what we pay our council tax for!"

Salford: Uniting to save mental health services

Fight Tameside library cuts!

Save Hampshire residential care homes

Stop the fire service cuts in West Yorkshire

NSSN supporter invited to address RMT

Socialist Party women

Rape is no joke

Slutwalk: there's NO excuse for rape

Sexism - a product of capitalism

Socialist Party review

Review: "From dole queue to corner and back again"


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