Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1073/30253

From The Socialist newspaper, 12 February 2020

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS

NHS   (Click to enlarge)

Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party

It is shocking that a doctor, breast surgeon Ian Paterson, subjected more than 1,000 patients, mainly women, to unnecessary and damaging operations over 14 years.

We need full funding and public ownership of the entire health sector. But we must also fight for democratic workers' control and management to replace unaccountable leaders and the culture of secrecy.

Most of Paterson's victims were women who had found a lump in their breast or who had already been diagnosed with breast cancer. He cruelly exaggerated the risks to persuade them to have surgery, sometimes several operations.

It's hard to imagine the worry and stress they and their families experienced, as well as being subjected to needless operations and damage to their bodies.

An independent inquiry showed that his victims were lied to, deceived and exploited. The bishop who chaired the inquiry reported: "The scale of what happened; the length of time this malpractice went on; the terrible legacy for so many families: it is difficult to exaggerate the damage done, including to trust in medical organisations and clinicians."

Paterson was convicted in 2017, and is serving a 20-year jail sentence for wounding with intent. But that cannot be the end of the matter.

It is worrying that Paterson was able to continue abusing the trust and damaging the bodies of mainly women for so long between 1997 and 2011. It raises the questions, why wasn't he found out, why wasn't he stopped? What safeguards are in place to protect patients from rogue doctors and other medical practitioners?

Paterson treated patients both through private practice and the NHS. The victims "were let down time and again," by Paterson, by both private and public hospitals, and by healthcare regulators who did not take complaints seriously. How can such scandals be prevented in the future?

The NHS, publicly funded and mostly publicly owned, must be defended by the labour movement against attempts to further cut, privatise and undermine it.

Private healthcare increases the possibility of operations being 'sold' to patients in pursuit of profits. In the US, healthy women are persuaded to have unnecessary and intrusive vaginal examinations that have no scientifically proved benefits.

And the NHS is hugely underfunded and at breaking point. Healthcare professionals are under enormous pressure, making it more likely for malpractice to be missed or improperly addressed.

Accountability

Much of Paterson's most extreme crimes took place in the private sector, which is less accountable than the NHS. Bringing private care into fully integrated public ownership would make it harder for rogue practitioners to slip between the cracks.

But it's also clear that even if the NHS was adequately funded, this alone would not guarantee that patients couldn't be abused in the future.

There needs to be democratic accountability. This must include elected representatives of patients, healthcare practitioners and support workers, and the wider community controlling the health service, including budgets, hiring, and other policy.

A vigorous campaign is needed to defend the NHS, spearheaded by the unions. The Trade Union Congress should lead it, but the unions organised in the NHS, and campaigning community organisations, must also fight for its future.

Donate to the Socialist Party

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.
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 special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 12 February 2020:


News

Tackling climate change: Johnson emits huge quantities of hot air!

Windrush deportations: end the hostile environment

Streatham attack: Johnson's bill can't stop terror

Them & Us

What We Heard


NHS

NHS: Fight for full funding!

Unnecessary surgery scandal shows need for democratic control of NHS

NHS debt so high it can't be repaid - so don't pay it!

Callous Tory cuts to children's speech therapy in Nottinghamshire


Trade unions

Trade unions - new decade, new challenges


Workplace news

Big Unison south east regional meeting votes for anti-cuts position

PCS union: Uniting the left around a leadership that can win for members

Westex workers win increased pay offer in 11th week of strike

University strikers walk out for better pay and pensions

East London school strikes against academisation continue

Foreign Office workers' strike

Solidarity with Turkish workers

Lambeth Unison letter

London NSSN meeting

Solidarity with victimised bus rep Moe

Support Clive Walder


Cuts

How to resist tory attacks on local communities

Cuts councillors are the real problem

Council houses - not private property developers


International

Sinn Fein harnesses working-class anger to top poll

Lebanon - mass protests cut across sectarian division


Campaigns

Build independent workers' media with May Day greetings

Building a working-class movement for Tamil rights

Hackney: We don't want homes and retail units working-class people can't afford

20 years of housing failure

Socialist Sellers


Universal Credit

New BBC series - Insight or whitewash?

Nottingham: death of vulnerable claimant

UC stopped without warning


 

Home   |   The Socialist 12 February 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

NHS:

triangleSocialist Party & Unison NEC member Hugo Pierre (centre), alongside others, taking part in the 8 August health workers' protests for a 15% pay increase. Photo Sarah SE

triangleCampaign stalls on jobs, pay, NHS and racism

triangle'First you clap us then you slap us'

triangleSick pay victory at Homerton hospital!

triangleFrom first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

Women:

triangleDoncaster: Vigil for murdered women

triangleSexist dismissal of women's health: NHS needs democratic control

triangle20 days. One town. Four domestic violence murders.

triangleDomestic violence murder

Healthcare:

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

triangleBlack Lives Matter - the fight is not over

triangleThe Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it "fanned the flames of revolt"

Health:

triangleCapitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

triangleNHS pay: 15% for all now

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

5/8/20

Coronavirus

Tories' obesity plans - blaming individuals not the profit system

5/8/20

Coronavirus

Capitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

5/8/20

Labour Party

Labour payouts: unions must discuss political representation

5/8/20

Coronavirus

NHS pay: 15% for all now

5/8/20

Coronavirus

From first wave to second? Capitalism's Covid failures

5/8/20

Universities

What would socialist universities look like?

22/7/20

China

Huawei: what's behind Johnson's u-turn?

22/7/20

Coronavirus

Fight for our livelihoods... Fight for our lives!

22/7/20

Music

Saving the music industry from pandemic and austerity

22/7/20

Luton

Luton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

22/7/20

The Socialist

Getting the Socialist over the summer

22/7/20

Coronavirus

Fight for the NHS

22/7/20

NHS

Tories using pandemic to privatise NHS more

22/7/20

Them & Us

Them & Us

22/7/20

Steel

Nationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999