Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1085/30726

From The Socialist newspaper, 5 May 2020

Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS

  (Click to enlarge)

An NHS laboratory worker

The Tories have set up a parallel structure to the existing NHS laboratories network, involving big private companies, and a mixture of unidentified and unqualified staff. Meanwhile, NHS labs have not even been running at full capacity.

Why? It is clear the Tories are exploiting the crisis to establish private-sector medical testing networks - as a precursor to winding down NHS laboratories in the future.

The Tories have spent weeks trying to avoid making testing a central aspect of their coronavirus strategy, to the extent that the UK was criticised by the World Health Organisation. But NHS laboratories were more than ready to take on the extra work.

In many cases, workloads in the laboratories were significantly reduced. Fewer people are attending GPs' surgeries and specialist clinics, so the number of other tests requested fell. In addition, a policy of prioritising the most urgent cases prevailed in the laboratories in anticipation of a large increase of coronavirus tests.

The NHS laboratory that I work in has spare capacity and a willing workforce, but even after a month nothing has come of it, despite a new 'assay' (test) being validated. Daily testing capacity, however, has reached 73,400, so there is plenty of capacity within the NHS generally to take on the work.

'Super-labs'

The Tories are clearly looking outside the NHS to have the tests done. They are setting up 50 new regional testing centres, and three new 'super-labs'. This is instead of fully using the existing NHS laboratories - 44 of which are underused, according to a former director of the World Health Organisation.

The super-labs decision was taken behind closed doors, with no consultation with the trade unions involved. They are reportedly to be run by "highly qualified staff and volunteers," leaving existing NHS staff and our unions wondering where these other "highly qualified staff" will come from, and what exactly the role of "volunteers" would be.

Health journalist John Lister reports that new 'lighthouse labs' are being set up through a partnership. It includes the government's Department of Health and Social Care, the science business networking organisation Medicines Discovery Catapult, not-for-profit processing facility UK Biocentre, and the University of Glasgow.

In Cheshire, the project is reported to be 'working closely' with pharmaceutical multinational Astra Zeneca. In Glasgow, it is linked with drug research firm BioAscent Discovery Ltd, and big pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline is also involved.

Equipment for these laboratories has been borrowed from universities and other organisations across the UK. In addition, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline are setting up an entirely private-sector super-lab in Cambridge.

So much for the praises heaped daily on the NHS by the Tories at the moment. It's nothing more than a PR exercise while they pursue their aim of destroying the NHS.

NHS workers in NHS facilities should do this vital work, adequately funded, on trade union conditions, working in conjunction with universities where appropriate. Private companies should have resources requisitioned, not be put in control!

The coronavirus response must be about saving lives and preventing suffering - not about undermining the NHS in order to make profits for big business.

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 5 May 2020:


What we think

Bosses push to lift lockdown - they only care about profits


Coronavirus news

Dispatches from the NHS front

Bail out the real wealth creators, not the rich

Homes needed to end overcrowding

Homeless left on streets during pandemic

Pay full fees for virtual courses? - No way!

Them&Us

Your donations can keep the Socialist going


Test and trace

Test and trace: workers need a real plan

Tories using pandemic to shift lab testing out of NHS


Workplace news

Nationalise British Airways to stop 12,000 redundancies

Postal workers force Royal Mail back

No increase in transport capacity without adequate safety precautions for workers and passengers

Unsafe Workplace? "It's up to you" PCS tells reps and members

Further protests in Ireland against Debenhams closures - UK fightback needed

Rolls Royce threatens 8,000 job losses

EDF Energy workers furloughed on 100% pay


International news

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

Trump puts profit before safety (again)


Lessons from history

The Tyneside apprentices' strike during WW2


Obituary

Peter Hadden remembered


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

TV Review BBC Panorama: PPE shortage - how many lives will be lost?


 

Home   |   The Socialist 5 May 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleTwo weeks to donate: we need your help

triangleCovid and the third sector: for public planning, not charity stopgaps

triangleCapitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine

triangleUnder the microscope

triangleSketch: The rule of six - some guidance from your government

Tories:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Tories in Crisis

triangleWhy I joined the Socialist Party: Tories and Blairites only care about corporate greed

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: Covid Schools + Tories = Chaos

triangleBlame politicians, not workers and young people

NHS:

triangleNHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

triangleCoventry: scrap 'profit before people' hospital parking charges

triangleAngry health workers demand 15% now!

Health:

triangleOur lives and livelihoods at stake

triangleUnder the microscope

Pharmaceutical:

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

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

17/9/20

Britain

Britain's fragile Covid equilibrium is coming to an end

16/9/20

NHS

NHS workers: "We deserve a fair wage" - 15% now!

16/9/20

Covid

Capitalist profit and the race to develop a vaccine

16/9/20

Covid

Covid and the third sector: for public planning, not charity stopgaps

16/9/20

Profit

Under the microscope

16/9/20

Covid

'Covid marshalls' must be accountable to communities

16/9/20

Covid

Blame politicians, not workers and young people

16/9/20

Brexit

Johnson's brinkmanship over EU deal deepens capitalist splits

16/9/20

Coronavirus

Sketch: The rule of six - some guidance from your government

16/9/20

Covid

Our lives and livelihoods at stake

9/9/20

Coronavirus

Safety overridden in drive to bolster the economy

9/9/20

Tories

U-turn Tories' splits are growing

9/9/20

Unison

A critical election for Unison general secretary

9/9/20

Minimum wage

Callous Tories threaten not to uprate the minimum wage

9/9/20

Covid

Under the microscope

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


September 2020

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