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Worcestershire Socialist Party public meeting
Workers' struggles and socialism to save the NHS
'Is socialism the only way of saving the NHS?', was the theme of a Socialist Party public meeting of 30 people in Kidderminster on 25 March.
Two former MPs were the platform speakers: Dr Richard Taylor (independent MP for Wyre Forest 2001-10), and Dave Nellist (Labour MP, Coventry South East 1983-92).
Dr Taylor is now co-leader of the National Health Action Party and Dave Nellist is the well-known Socialist Party member who chairs the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition.
Both said that socialist measures are needed to save the NHS; while the meeting generally agreed that, to all intents and purposes, the NHS has already been abolished.
There is no longer public planning and a great deal of public money is disappearing to private profit.
Dr Taylor said that the promise of the Labour Party to revoke the present government's destructive Health and Social Care Act did not go far enough.
"We must return to a fully integrated national scheme which is publicly planned," he said. "This means abolishing PFI contracts and the split between purchasers and providers."
Dave added: "The government talks of transferring the NHS from the state to community based care, but this is simply a cover for handing it over to private organisations.
"We must return to the founding principles of the NHS in 1948, with free prescriptions, free eye care and free dental care.
We can afford it. British capitalists currently hold over £700 billion in cash assets which they do not know how to spend. We should also nationalise the drug companies."
Dave called on NHS campaigners to join together to oppose the main political parties who are all committed to the interests of big business.
Some of the audience still look to the Labour Party to defend the NHS. Dr Taylor hoped that his party can influence the Labour Party to return to the founding principles of the NHS in 1948.
However, it was the Labour Party which introduced the first PFI privatisation contracts and foundation trusts to run NHS services more or less like private companies.
In The Socialist 2 April 2014:
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