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From The Socialist newspaper, 25 January 2002

Spending Cuts, Privatisation, Staff Shortages:

New Labour is Bad for Your Health

A MILLION people are on hospital waiting lists - 2% of the entire British population. New Labour's latest attempt to distract from chronic underfunding and understaffing of the NHS involved sending nine patients via Eurostar to a French hospital in Lille for cataract and joint operations.

Councillor Dave Nellist, leader, Socialist group, Coventry City council

A better solution would have been to re-open some of the 13,000 NHS beds that New Labour have closed since 1997. And with ironic timing, the patients arrived in France just as French hospital workers, nurses and doctors were about to start a week of industrial action to protest about staff shortages of 80,000 in their own health service!

Britain is supposed to be the fourth richest country in the world - but health spending as a percentage of the country's wealth is 15th and Britain's ranking by the World Health Organisation is 18th.

While Chancellor Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Milburn promised "billions more" for the NHS, health authorities are this month making millions of pounds of urgent cuts to avoid "overspending". What an 'Alice in Wonderland' world!

New Labour has responded to growing opposition by unions, patients and health staff against creeping NHS privatisation "by the back door" - by throwing open the front door! Their proposals for "foundation hospitals" sounds depressingly similar to Railtrack.

The 12 hospital trusts that earned zero stars in last year's inspections by the Commission for Health Improvement (including Coventry's Walsgrave Hospital Trust) could be among the first to have their management privatised.

The plans were almost universally condemned with only privatisation firms themselves welcoming the move. Private companies are wetting themselves at the prospect of getting a bigger share of the 50 billion national health budget.

The Socialist Party believes that the NHS needs reintegrating as a wholly publicly funded and publicly owned service under the control and planning of working class people. Join us and fight to make it a reality.

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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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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 donate to our Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 25 January 2002:

New Labour is Bad for Your Health

Support The Strikers

Bush's Human Rights Hypocrisy

Northern Ireland: Huge Strike And Rally Against Sectarian Attacks

Bloody Sunday - 30 Years After The Massacre

India/Pakistan: War Clouds Hang Over The Masses

Big Business Destroys The Environment


 

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