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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2019

We saved Chatsworth Ward - two years on

Chatsworth ward workers, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans

Chatsworth ward workers, 2.9.17, photo Elaine Evans   (Click to enlarge)

Tom Hunt, Chatsworth Ward nurse and Mansfield Socialist Party

Two years on from the 'done deal, you will be closing' announcement, the Chatsworth Ward at Mansfield Community Hospital remains open!

In July 2017, management told workers at the neuro-rehabilitation ward it would close that October. Horrified staff demanded to know what provisions were being made for their very vulnerable patients.

They were told not to worry because they would be relocated to different jobs. They weren't primarily concerned that they wouldn't have a job, but that their patients' needs had been ignored.

There was desperation and bewilderment, but the anger and mood to fight was tangible. This was initially ignored by the leadership of the local branch of public service union Unison and the Labour Party - although both eventually supported the campaign after the workers won huge community support.

Staff looked for leadership to fight this savage announcement. Luckily, a Socialist Party member worked on the ward.

Quick and decisive moves were made, such as contacting the media and forming a workers' and patients' committee. A march took place in early September. Weekly meetings ensured tactics and strategies were democratically discussed.

We stressed that this was not just a local issue, but linked to the wider crisis in the NHS. The team did not wish to save Chatsworth Ward at the expense of other NHS services, but to fight for them all. So we linked up with other NHS campaigns, such as Save Glenfield Children's Heart Centre in Leicester.

After seven months of heroic struggle, the bosses finally caved in and announced Chatsworth would not close. Many patients and their families have benefited since then from its specialist care.

The campaign highlighted that with bold leadership, workers' confidence increased. They were prepared to fight, and also drew conclusions about this rotten capitalist system.

The ward workers developed politically - but of course, the bosses have learned too. So no one is under any illusion that the war is won - only that battle.

This lousy Tory government is hell-bent on destroying our NHS so their big business friends can line their pockets. They have to go. Let's get Corbyn in and organise trade union action for socialist policies.

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In The Socialist 13 November 2019:


What we think

Attacks show elite fear a Corbyn election win


News

Strike, protest, vote - Kick the Tories out

Labour MP targeted by right wing stands as independent

NHS in critical condition

Green Party offers no alternative for young people and climate change chaos


International socialist news and analysis

Bolivia: Right-wing coup ousts Morales

Kshama Sawant reelected in Seattle


Workplace news

'McStrikers' demand £15 an hour

UCU strikes: Union means business in fight against employers

Postal union determined to resist bosses' attacks

PCS union general secretary election: Enthusiastic support for Marion Lloyd

Frimley NHS Trust strikes: Health workers walkout against privatisation

Bradford libraries and museums: Unite members escalate action against cuts

RMT union members at SWR to walk out in December

Transport for London - Justice for cleaners!


Education

Save education - Kick out the Tories


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Leicester campaigns to save our NHS

Fighting for free education, jobs, homes, and a future worth living

Socialism 2019 rally: "Socialist change needed to end climate change"

Trade union conference to force secret police disclosure

Barking: protest brings pledge to remove dangerous decking

Help socialist ideas spread this election: donate!

We saved Chatsworth Ward - two years on

I'm 90 and still a socialist


Readers' opinion

Readers' opinion: Twitter's banning of political ads threatens workers' voice

Theatre: On Bear Ridge - an examination of loss, set in a post-apocalyptic world

Socialism 2019 - what you thought


 

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