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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 January 2019
NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!
Demonstrating to save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Theresa May has been trumpeting an increase in spending on the NHS and a ten-year 'super-plan' for NHS England. But this is not what it seems.
For a start, the "extra" billions promised - reaching an extra £20 billion a year by 2023 - is actually less than the increases in spending before the Tories' cruel austerity policies really kicked in. Funding increases used to be about 4% a year, this works out at just over 3% - barely enough for the NHS to stand still.
If you bear in mind that hospitals are missing every target - for A&E waiting times, cancer treatment and routine operations - that increase will be rapidly eaten up. And if you consider that many hospitals are sinking under crippling 'debts' to the big construction companies from rip-off Private Finance Initiative (PFI) schemes, this is even less impressive.
There are about 100,000 vacancies for NHS staff at the moment, so the existing staff are having to struggle to keep the system going. How can the proposed improvements in things like cancer diagnosis, maternity care and mental health treatment be delivered without a real increase in spending on training, wages and recruitment?
The biggest gap in all this is social care. The government was supposed to publish a discussion paper on this some months ago but this potato is obviously too hot for them.
Local authorities are having their budgets cut. But rather than confront the government they try to cut what they pay for social care. Care homes rely increasingly on very low-paid workers and are going out of business.
The result is that elderly and vulnerable people end up in hospital for extended periods of time and the waiting lists grow.
Much of this ten-year plan talks about important public health measures like tackling obesity and helping people to give up smoking. But these are the types of services which local authorities are already cutting.
Vandalising the NHS has been one of the government's main objectives - they just see it as a source of profit for their big business backers. And what else are they going to cut to pay for this crude attempt to divert attention from the Brexit fiasco?
There is no time to lose:
- Reverse all cuts and privatisation to guarantee the needed funds.
- Labour councils should stand up to the government and refuse to implement cuts, including to social care.
- Urgently train more NHS staff and pay them all a real living wage.
- Nationalise all the big companies leeching off the NHS, cancel the PFI 'debts'.
- Run the NHS under democratic workers' control as a real public service.
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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.
- 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 9 January 2019:
What we think
Brexit vote round two: Corbyn must fight for a socialist alternative to the Tory deal and bosses' EU
Tories Out. End austerity. Mass working-class action for a general election
'Fat Cat Friday' shows where all the money's gone
Javid's migrant 'emergency'
Death in a doorway: struggle can end homelessness
Them & Us
What we saw
PCS Left Unity assistant general secretary election rerun
Far right attack on Manchester rail workers' picket line - trade union fightback needed
Grayling's attacks on rail workers wages 'un-fare'
Solid strike by Arriva bus drivers
Ferry workers protest against £2.45 an hour pay
UCU Wales suspends FE strike action
German revolution 100 years on
Heroic martyrs of German Revolution
Socialist Party reports and campaigns
Disruption of Leeds Socialist Party meeting shows need for unions to lead real struggle
Bringing socialist ideas into movements on women's rights
Tremendous effort sees Socialist Party smash fighting fund target in 2018
NHS funding crisis: Tory 'super-plan' is a super-con!
Linking LGBT+ rights to the fight for socialism
North Tyneside Campaigning to save our footbridge
Carmarthenshire council: Unison demands no-cuts budget
International socialist news and analysis
Protests continue to rage in Sudan
Blocked for years, but the Socialist Party of Nigeria is now standing in elections
Theatre review: Women of Aktion - the heroic story of how World War One was ended
The Socialist Inbox
The Socialist 9 January 2019 |
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