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Daggers at NHS's heart
TONY BLAIR recently met and welcomed the NHS Partners Network, a coalition of 'independent' private sector healthcare companies who intend to privatise operations. Up to 40% of operations carried out by private firms will be performed for the NHS by 2008.
All this is a dagger at the health service's heart. Bringing in the private sector could fragment the NHS and force the closure of traditional NHS sites currently providing free services. The private healthcare sector hopes that the service gets ever more dependent on the private market.
Blair's enthusiasm for privatisation seems to know no limits despite the chaos brought to the NHS by the contracting out of home oxygen supplies to private companies this month.
One patient died after the new system broke down and emergency oxygen supplies took nine hours to arrive. Thousands of other people with breathing difficulties suffered as the privatised system under-estimated how many people would need the service.
The Socialist Party's new leaflet NHS - campaign to stop cuts and closures on the crisis in the health service covers the perils of privatisation. It also explains how huge deficits in the NHS Trusts are provoking big campaigns of patients and health workers to stop cutbacks and closures of wards or whole hospitals.
These local 'Save the NHS' campaigns need to be co-ordinated nationwide including with a high-profile national demonstration against cuts and privatisation within the health service.
Copies of the campaigning leaflet are available from Campaigns Department, Socialist Party, PO Box 24697, London E11 1YD.
In The Socialist 22 February 2006: