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Workload-related mistakes by GPs on the rise - health unions need to fight back
Matt Whale, Hull Socialist Party
After nearly a decade of Tory austerity and attacks on the NHS, it comes as no surprise that a Panorama investigation found that GPs are making mistakes due to workload. A majority of GPs admit seeing considerably more patients in a day than is considered safe.
Help isn't on the way either. Reports indicate that there could be an almost tripling of GP vacancies in England to 7,000 by 2024.
The Tories are failing our communities by overseeing a targeted attack on the NHS. The pressure of an ageing population coupled with historic understaffing of GP surgeries is causing a crisis.
Simple mistakes, such as incorrect labelling of blood samples, caused by fatigue and work pressure could have potentially serious complications for patients.
Trying to get an appointment with a GP can be tortuous, often waiting times of two weeks or more. As waiting times become longer at GP surgeries, more patients feel the need to attend A&E and get urgent care for ailments that a GP could treat.
The knock on effect from the GP crisis is felt across the NHS. Emergency departments are filled with patients who do not require urgent emergency care.
This crisis is no accident. GPs who raise concerns are threatened with audits and checks - a.k.a a thinly veiled threat which says: "if you raise any problems, we'll shut you down".
The Tories and their capitalist backers see a failing health system not as a problem but as an opportunity.
Private companies, such as Virgin Care, are increasingly taking on failing NHS services - taking public money and making millions in profits. These private firms attack workers' terms and conditions and often offer a poor-quality service, using cheaper less qualified staff.
Despite constant media attacks and bad press, the NHS remains the 'jewel in the crown' of the working class in Britain. Fought for by previous generations, we have a duty to fight for the NHS today.
We've seen glimpses of sensational public support for the NHS over the past few years - the incredible junior doctors' strike, numerous local NHS campaigns and the sight of tens of thousands on the streets of London in 2017. The need for the NHS unions, alongside the Trade Union Congress (TUC), to organise defence of our health service has never been more urgent.
The Tories can't be trusted with the NHS. They've delivered cutbacks - underfunding and privatisation are now the norm.
We need an alternative to the Tories and their big-business pals destroying our public services.
Action led by the unions and Jeremy Corbyn can also force a general election to get the Tories out. And we need to deselect the Blairites in Labour who also back privatisation.
Any victories the workers movement wins under capitalism are temporary.
We need to fight for a publicly funded, democratically run, socialist NHS as part of a socialist economy that nationalises the privatisers, banks and big business under democratic control of the working class.
In The Socialist 15 May 2019:
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