Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/878/21709
From The Socialist newspaper, 11 November 2015
Marching for the NHS in Bolsover, August 2014 (Click to enlarge)
£4 billion funding black hole
Bail out the NHS
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.
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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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal
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
The Socialist 11 November 2015 |
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