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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2016

East Mids heart unit under threat

Protest and strike to save our NHS

Join the national demo on 18 March

Campaigners marching to save the East Midlands Heart Unit, photo by Steve Score

Campaigners marching to save the East Midlands Heart Unit, photo by Steve Score   (Click to enlarge)

Steve Score, Leicester

Glenfield congenital heart centre in Leicester saves children's lives. No wonder there is so much anger at NHS England's threat to stop children's heart surgery there. It is the only place in the whole of the East Midlands that carries out these operations.

My son was one of 332 children who had heart surgery there last year. Yet NHS England's main reason for ending this surgery is that they now require 375 operations a year.

They ignore the fact that Glenfield is increasing its capacity and is likely to meet that arbitrary target soon anyway, and the fact that it has been praised for its "excellent outcomes".

The closure plan has been strongly opposed by patients' families and campaigners. The campaign has also been backed by Unite the union regionally, the Midlands TUC, as well as local trades councils and union branches. A combined total of 60,000 people have so far signed either the online petition or a paper version.

Real motives?

If NHS England's arguments don't add up, what are the real motives? They deny it's about money. But is it a coincidence that this is happening at the same time as the government demands 22 billion in 'efficiency savings' - cuts - from the NHS?

Many local campaigns are springing up to save NHS services and hospitals. We need to pull these all together and it needs union backing. Let's unite to stop the Tories taking the heart out of the NHS!

Demo details:


Re-open Grantham A&E

Gary Freeman, Unison health service group executive member for East Midlands (personal capacity)

The closure of Grantham Hospital's night-time Accident and Emergency service was supposedly for three months. But as predicted by campaigners, there are now rumours of a further extension of this.

There has been huge public opposition to this closure, with weekly protests. 3,000 people marched through the town in September.

The nearest A&E department is 25 miles away. Lincolnshire is a large rural county with poor transport links. Time lost means lives at risk.

Campaigners believe there has been a deliberate attempt by the trust to underestimate the needs and usage at Grantham A&E to justify its closure.

It is also happening against the backdrop of new NHS cuts in the government's 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans'.

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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.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

In The Socialist 26 October 2016:


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