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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 June 2018

Tory cash boost not enough - save our NHS

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch

Save our NHS, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge)

Tessa Warrington, East Midlands Socialist Party

Theresa May has announced an NHS budget increase of 3-4%, amounting to a cash boost of up to 6 billion a year.

The Tory government is on the brink due to splits over Brexit - so May is preparing the ground for another general election. But her promise is not nearly enough to solve the crisis in our NHS.

The front page headline on issue 1 of the Socialist, back in February 1997, was "Stop the health rip-off." In a month of anniversaries, not only are we marking the 1000th issue of the Socialist - but on 5 July the 70th birthday of the NHS. This year the NHS even gets a gift!

The scrapping of the eight-year policy limiting NHS funding increases to just 1% is a big shift. It reveals the enormous pressure building from below from tireless grassroots campaigns - and the dangerous position May and her infighting party of the super-rich find themselves in.

The deterioration of the NHS is widespread and well-known. Chronic understaffing will leave a gap of 115,000 in the workforce by 2027, according to NHS training coordinator Health Education England.

The latest 'winter crisis' led to the temporary cancellation of all non-urgent operations. Hospitals have overspent by millions a year as providing services proves incompatible with balancing the books.

Save our NHS demo, 4.3.17 , photo Paul Mattsson

Save our NHS demo, 4.3.17 , photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

However, the NHS has been the battleground where a number of important campaigns have fought and won.

The Glenfield children's heart unit in Leicester, Chatsworth neurorehabilitation ward in Mansfield, and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary A&E in Yorkshire. All threatened with closure, all remain open today - due to mass campaigns where the Socialist Party and Socialist newspaper played a leading role.

The Tories are worried not just about losing an election - but of the potential for workers to grow in confidence that they can fight back and demand more.

The current plans for coordinated strike action across the NHS in West Yorkshire, where estates and facilities staff are fighting outsourcing, are exactly the sort of thing the Tories fear and hope to head off with this pledge.

But much, much more investment than this is needed make the NHS fit for purpose. And only taking the whole health sector into public ownership under democratic workers' control and management - including the big drugs companies - will make that investment effective.

We know any concession from capitalist politicians is temporary. And we know they will try to make the working class pay for it with cuts elsewhere.

So Jeremy Corbyn must prepare for a general election too. He could start by pointing all this out and calling for the socialist policies needed to save our NHS - and to achieve an internationalist, pro-worker Brexit.

He should also call publicly for a mass turnout on the 30 June NHS demo in London, to turn it into a 'Tories out' march and make it the launchpad to build for coordinated strikes. Millions would respond to a serious strategy to boot the Tories out of office once and for all.

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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.

  • 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.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 20 June 2018:


What we think

Desperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act


News

Tory cash boost not enough - save our NHS

No to Trump's climate change chaos

Universal Credit delivers claimant misery

Refugee suicide scandal

Them & Us

What We Saw


International socialist news and analysis

Seattle council repeals Amazon Tax


1000 issues of the Socialist

1000 issues of the Socialist: A vital weapon standing in proud traditions

Greetings from readers of the Socialist

How do we produce the Socialist?


Workplace

DWP surrenders to union pressure - now vote Yes to smash pay cap for everyone

Rolls-Royce: fight all job cuts!

GMB union: NHS reps reject Tory pay offer

McStrikers and young workers take centre stage at bakers' union 2018 conference

Northern Rail strike reaches 21 days of action to save guards

Miners demand end to pensions robbery

Yorks NHS workers fight outsourcing

Unite agrees NSSN affiliation - come to the NSSN conference!


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tamil Solidarity Day: intense, lively, thought-provoking

Grenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

Organisers' school - an opportunity to educate and discuss

Leeds: Disability campaigners force council to retreat

Wrenford centre: Stop heartless Tory cuts

Knowsley council pushed back on cuts and privatisation

Orgreave - no justice, no peace


Opinion

Inspirational account of young Marx's political battles

Rousing, funny take on Marxism - from the man himself

The Socialist inbox


 

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