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From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2015

Marching for the NHS in Bolsover, August 2014

Marching for the NHS in Bolsover, August 2014   (Click to enlarge)

4 billion funding black hole

Bail out the NHS

Richard Worth

NHS hospitals may run out of money next year and be unable to pay their staff.

This is the warning from Christopher Smallwood, chair of St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in south west London. An extra 4 billion a year is needed to keep services running - double the funding gap estimated last year. Otherwise the NHS faces "widespread financial collapse."

According to Smallwood, "since hospitals... take out loans to finance their deficits, their accumulated debt will become so large that many could run out of borrowing capacity and cash. At this point... they can no longer pay wages."

Debt from part-privatised 'private finance initiative' hospitals is costing 2 billion this year - or 3,729 every minute. This would pay the wages of all qualified midwives for two and a half years! Repayments on this debt will escalate to 10 billion a year by 2017.

Underfunding

The NHS has suffered years of underfunding. Since 2010 budgets have only increased 0.8% a year, while costs have soared by up to 5%.

This shortfall has hit hospitals and patients. Yet Jeremy Hunt, the Tory health secretary, is demanding 22 billion of NHS "efficiency savings" - cuts - by 2020.

Cuts mean staff vacancies are left unfilled and staff-patient ratios worsen. With increasing workloads and less staff, hospitals are already running at full capacity. The onset of winter, however, threatens more demand.

Junior doctors have forced the government back on contract attacks just by threatening strike action. Health unions must build for escalating strikes, coordinated with other unions. This is the lead Roger Bannister would give if elected as general secretary of health and public service union Unison.

The Socialist Party says: reverse all spending cuts and end the private finance initiative. Kick out the private profit vultures, and nationalise all healthcare and pharmaceutical companies under democratic workers' control and management.

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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 11 November 2015:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Bail out the NHS

Socialist policies get results!

Government departments agree to hack budgets

Tories open the door to further rises in tuition fees

Fury as India's leader Modi plans to visit Britain

Buyers queue overnight for 'affordable' London homes

School kids must walk hands behind backs says head

Them & Us

What we saw


Socialist Party feature

Socialism 2015: Socialist ideas back on the agenda


International socialist news and analysis

USA: Kshama Sawant re-elected

UK trade props up Kazakh dictatorship


Workplace news and analysis

Unions should keep independence to lead fight to defend Corbyn

CWU rep sacked

Hull council in aggressive attack on trade unions

Step up the fight for trade union rights

Huge support for socialist in Northern Ireland union election

Workers dig in for fight over job threat

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Can biomass energy be part of a socialist plan of production?

Revolutionary themes in games


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Save steel jobs

Jeremy Corbyn visits Leeds Uni

Southampton council: cutters or Corbynistas?

Derby school support staff: fight against pay cuts continues

Fight now on to save disabled respite centre


 

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