Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 25 August 2005


Campaign stops health closure plan

LAUREATE HOUSE Mental Health Unit in Manchester has been saved! Campaigning pressure by patient groups - helped by the Socialist Party's petitioning for months, speaking to staff, patients, and visitors - forced health bosses to back off.

Lynn Worthington, Wythenshawe Socialist Party

Closing Laureate House would mean patients, visitors and staff making an impossible 30-mile round trip to its "relocation" in North Manchester. This is a landmark victory in the fight for decent health services. But we still need to keep an eye on the "consultation project" which bosses will try to use to make other attacks.

We found out about Laureate House (LH) through our general election campaign in April, when cleaning staff told us about the threat of closure. LH's post-natal depression unit has unique accommodation and facilities. What guarantees were there that a "transferred" facility would have the same?

Health bosses said it costs too much to rent LH from the profiteering landlord companies. We say: don't kick out the patients, kick out the profiteers! Private profit has no place in healthcare.

Construction giant McAlpine owns Laureate House under the Private Finance Initiative; the NHS rents it from McAlpine at extortionate rates. McAlpine has a contract for 35 years with South Manchester NHS for Laureate House and other services, at a cost of 86 million! At the end of 2004, McAlpine announced pre-tax profits of 38.2 million - 2 million up on a year before.

Taking up the campaign, we went to see ward managers and staff, who took our petitions, and outside the hospital we petitioned staff, patients and visitors. We then took the campaign onto the estate round the hospital to let people know what was going on. The many donations by working-class people enabled us to produce the hundreds of leaflets and petitions needed to make this victory happen.

Our NHS is being left to the greed of profiteering and private companies. We demand all privatisation be ended. All existing and new facilities should be run in-house, under democratic control of staff, patients, and the wider community.

Working-class people can win battles like this. Not long ago at Trafford General Hospital we forced health bosses to delay the proposed closure of the mother and baby (neo-natal) unit. Faced with mass campaigns, bosses can't just decide everything behind closed doors.

Primary health care

Fight New Labour's privatisation strategy

THE GOVERNMENT'S latest proposals for primary healthcare put working people's health needs below big business' profits. Under the proposals Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), responsible for healthcare provision to communities, will relinquish their role and instead become merely "commissioning" authorities.

Len Hockey, UNISON Joint Branch Secretary, Waltham Forest Health Branch (personal capacity)

Services provided by school nurses, district nurses, therapists and others will be privatised and off-loaded onto charitable and voluntary bodies with the inevitable threats to pay and conditions that go with it.

The plan aims to make cuts of 250 million and reduce management and administrative costs by at least 15%. It goes on...

"As PCTs focus on promoting health and commissioning services, arrangements should be made to secure services from a range of providers rather than just through direct provision by the PCT." A tight timetable is detailed including "March 2006: all statutory consultation completed."

Reference is made to local government and how it has developed its "role as commissioner (privatiser) of social care services." This amounts to the Americanisation of UK public services. Along with this, all Trusts are to become NHS Foundation Trusts by April 2008.

UNISON condemned the move, rightly arguing for proper consultation. But this is not enough. UNISON should make a clear break with New Labour and some of the estimated 3 million that would be saved should be put towards a campaign including national industrial action to save our NHS. This, if campaigned for throughout the membership, would receive overwhelming support.

A socialist explanation of the narrow selfish interests of Labour and its big business backers, as against the interests and needs of health workers, their families and the communities they serve, desperately needs to be asserted.

Health and inequality

A GOVERNMENT study shows a widening of health inequalities between rich and poor. This is the first time ever that this has occurred under a Labour government.

The Department Of Health's Scientific Reference Group of Health Inequalities found the gap in life expectancy between the bottom fifth and the general population had widened by 2% for men and 5% for women between 1997-99 and 2001-03. This means that life expectancy in the wealthiest areas is 7-8 years longer than in the poorest areas.

The gap in the infant mortality rate between the poorest and the general population rose from 13% in 1997-99 to 19% in 2001-03. The infant mortality rate for the whole population was five deaths per 1000 live births, compared to six per 1000 among those with fathers in routine and manual work. This was significantly higher than the rate for those in the managerial and professional class, which was 3.5 per 1000.

BRITAIN'S TOP companies are still force-feeding their fat cat directors on cream. Directors' pay rose on average 16.1% last year - four times faster than average earnings. If you include bonuses and gains from long-term incentive plans, the average chief executive now gets paid over 2.5 million a year.

This rise comes after a 13% increase the previous year and 23% the year before that. Average earnings for workers are rising at 4.1% and the average annual salary is 22,060. So in Britain under New Labour an average chief executive is paid 113 times more than an average worker.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 25 August 2005:

Defend workers rights

Gate Gourmet - solidarity action is vital

No more police cover-ups

Iraq: Bogged down in an unwinnable war

Gaza withdrawal: Will Sharon's pull-out lead to 'peace'?

Lewisham Socialist Party councillors support suspended MSPs

Campaign stops health closure plan

Build Socialist Students and fight education cuts

Rolls Royce workers vote for strike

First bus company raises fares and cuts services


Home   |   The Socialist 25 August 2005   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleManchester: RMT transport workers' conference fringe meeting

triangleArriva Rail North cleaners fight bosses' punitive pay arrears

triangleClimate change protest in London on 12.4.19, photo Mary Finch

triangleManchester Socialist Party: What could a socialist council do?

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Red Clydeside


triangleIrish health workers' anger boils over into strike action

triangleEven social-care bosses say cuts have gone too far

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The mental health crisis

triangleCharging scandal in Warrington and Halton NHS Trust


triangleThe landowning establishment

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleCarlisle Labour/Lib Dem coalition cuts care home beds


triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Do trade deals threaten the NHS?

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Victory for Stagecoach bus strikers!



Bradford: Unison members strike to stay 100% NHS



Academy strike - standing up to 'bullying' management forces climbdown



Residents, housing activists and pensioners mobilise to stop eviction


Socialist Party

Socialist Party secures new offices



Lincoln Uni NUS disaffiliation: a question of on-campus democracy



Carlisle Labour/Lib Dem coalition cuts care home beds



Sick of your boss? Join a union! Come to NSSN conference



New group launched to fight general secretary election



Stourbridge: Keep our college!


The Socialist

Sell the Socialist and take out an e-subscription



Coventry says no to congestion charge


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity Day: Linking up oppressed people's struggles



Angry Barking residents protest outside sales office



Birmingham uni workers strike against terms and conditions attacks

triangleMore Reports and campaigns 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



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


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

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019