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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 September 2006

Socialist Party NHS campaign


Campaign defeats GP services sell-off

A LOCAL pensioner in Derbyshire, Pam Smith, has won her appeal to stop the US's biggest healthcare corporation from running her local GP surgery in the village of Langwith (for more details see the socialist 18-24 May 2006).

Jon Dale, Bolsover Socialist Party

Patients had not been properly consulted, said the appeal court judge, before North East Derbyshire primary care trust (PCT) gave the contract to provide Langwith's GP services to United Health Europe, the British division of the US multinational. The court ordered the PCT to start the tendering process from scratch, with full patient consultation.

This is a great victory for the people of Langwith. Everyone fighting NHS privatisation will share their joy.

It would not have happened without strong local displays of anger at the way the Primary Care Trust was trying to steamroller the community into accepting this giant American multinational as their provider of GP services.

Two public meetings were held at which hardly one person spoke in favour of the deal. The original Judicial Review decision - that the PCT had failed in its duty to consult local people, but that it would have made no difference if they had - was laughable.

But although the courts have backed local protesters this time, it would be a mistake for NHS campaigners to rely on them. More often than not, the judges will back business interests.

It's the strength of campaigns that counts - and they need to be linked up at national level to make them strong enough to defeat Labour's continuing onslaught.

Come to the Sheffield rally

FOUR THOUSAND in two days! That's the number of signatures staff from S2 ward have received whilst petitioning against the proposed ward closure at the Sheffield Childrens Hospital.

Jon Smith, GMB branch secretary, Sheffield Children's Hospital

I have had nothing but support from people regarding our rally and march on 9 September but we need more. The joint unions are calling on everyone opposed to NHS cuts to attend this march and rally.

Our battle at the Children's Trust (where management are cutting 9 million over three years) is the battle of all NHS trusts. 90 million cuts are proposed at the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust! Today we must win back our NHS.

Demonstrate Saturday 9 September.

Assemble 10am Weston Park for march and rally at City Hall.

Leeds hospitals protest

TEN MEMBERS of Leeds Socialist Party staged a protest lobby of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS trust chief, Neil McKay, outside St James's hospital on 31 August.

Nigel Poustie

Over the past three years, this Trust - which runs St James's and Leeds General Infirmary - has cut hundreds of posts, closed nine wards and axed many beds.

A regular flow of people coming off the buses came straight to our stall to sign the petition.

One nurse took our paper to show to her colleagues.

We were told we weren't allowed on the premises - of a public hospital!

We were then told we couldn't see Neil McKay as he wasn't there. So instead chief nurse Maureen Noughton was sent to receive the 3,000 signatures we'd collected on our petition, attacking their policy of privatisation and cuts.

We later found out from student nurses that Neil McKay was on their ward with a clip board.

This reinforces the common opinion that, while patients and staff are suffering, there are: "too many managers, too many management consultants and too many private companies bleeding the NHS dry."

Fighting NHSL sell-off

THE STORES and supplies service of the NHS has now been signed off to DHL/Novation. NHS Logistics is supposed to be run by these private companies from 1 October.

DHL claim of course that they will save the NHS 1 billion over the next ten years, without affecting the quality of the service.

The workforce is more sceptical and are balloting for strike action, the result of the ballot of UNISON's 750-plus members will be known after 11 September.

And UNISON has produced leaflets and posters in Polish to ensure every union member is encouraged to vote for action.

This is another chapter in New Labour's drive for privatisation at any cost.

They want to hive off an award-winning public service to a company like Novation who are already being investigated in the USA because of their procurement activities.

The Socialist Party says

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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.
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In The Socialist 7 September 2006:

Fighting back against attacks on NHS

Campaign defeats GP services sell-off

Campaign for a new workers' party

Come to Socialism 2006

Socialist Party campaigns

Progress on climate change - or just hot air?

Long hours and poverty pay hit students

A searing indictment of capitalism

War and terrorism

End the occupations

Lebanon: Can the UN bring peace?

9/11 - Five years on

Reprint: After the carnage in the USA: World Crisis Deepens

International socialist news and analysis

The politics of aid

New socialist party launched in Scotland

Bangladesh: 20,000 protesters march against British mining company

Socialist Party workplace news

Workers yearn for fighting leadership

2% public-sector pay rise won't cover inflation

The GAMA struggle

Strike victory increases pay-offs


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