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From The Socialist newspaper, 6 February 2013
Lewisham hospital protests continue
Marching to save Lewisham hospital, 26.1.13, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The main road outside Lewisham Hospital was noisier than usual on 31 January as car, bus and lorry drivers beeped their horns in support of angry protesters.
Tory health minister Jeremy Hunt had just announced that Lewisham hospital accident and emergency department and maternity services would remain open but face huge cuts.
South London Healthcare Trust (SLHT) which runs hospitals in Woolwich, Bromley and Sidcup is also being dissolved, leading to more massive cuts, closures, job losses and cancelled operations.
25,000 people had joined a protest march in Lewisham only five days earlier. This massive community resistance clearly had some effect as the government appointed special administrator Matthew Kershaw had been considering closing these services completely.
Marching to save Lewisham hospital, 26.1.13 , photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Kershaw had argued that the A&E, staffed by GPs and nurses, should be replaced by an urgent care unit that could only deal with less seriously ill people.
Hunt, under pressure from the marvellous protests, said that Lewisham A&E would remain as a smaller service but with the aim of more serious cases being eventually shuffled off out of Lewisham. The plan has been described as a 'glorified 24/7 GP practice'.
NHS workers are angry at these serious cuts, so are the patients of today and tomorrow. All these life-threatening attacks are due to financial problems at SLHT which, like many hospital trusts, ran up against the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), where private firms like banks and construction companies get to own and run hospitals - interest repayments in the trust have reached £61 million a year!
The bosses have started a war over the NHS. The working class should lead the fightback but more than petitions, protests and demos are needed. Growing numbers of health workers are calling for industrial action such as strikes.
This is a stay of execution but not a reprieve. The opposition has been loud but, so far, muted from the labour movement's leaders.
A concerted programme of strikes, community protest and demonstrations - including a national protest against NHS 'reforms' - could beat the Con-Dems' local and national plans for the NHS.
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In The Socialist 6 February 2013:
Socialist Party NHS campaigning
Fight to save NHS
Revolt against pay cuts strengthened at Mid-Yorkshire NHS
Lewisham hospital protests continue
Whipps Cross workers prepare for fight against jobs and pay cuts
Scrap PFI, not our hospitals
Socialist Party news and analysis
Cracks in the coalition - we must take advantage of the divided enemy
As Gove attacks teachers: NUT leaders - delay no longer
Childcare plans spell disaster
Them & Us
Socialist Party feature
Organised fightback needed to save council services
Socialist Party reviews and comments
Cut tax dodging not benefits
Film review: Steven Spielberg's Lincoln
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Brutal cuts announced in Cardiff
Derby Labour councillors 'oppose' cuts - then vote for them
Tamil Solidarity looks at 65 years of 'independence' in Sri Lanka
Support the Socialist with a May Day greeting
Socialist Party regional conferences
Socialist Party workplace news
Workers tell Bromley council: We won't sign up to your plans
Labour cuts better than Tory ones?
Attempts to force Unison branches to affiliate to Labour
London mayor pressing ahead with fire service cuts
Workplace news in brief
International socialist news and analysis
South Africa: Battle for control of mining sector
The Socialist 6 February 2013 |
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