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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 July 2008

Defend the NHS!

The Socialist Party

The Socialist Party's 'Grim Reaper' and a fat cat join the Keep Our NHS Public 'Defend our health service' protest outside the Department of Health on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the health service, photo Paul Mattsson

LAST SATURDAY, 5 July marked the 60th anniversary of one of the greatest gains of the British working class, the introduction of the National Health Service.

Wylie Hume, Devon Socialist Party

Unfortunately the erosion of the NHS' basic founding principles: free provision at the point of use, the service being financed by central taxation and universal eligibility for treatment, began not long after its introduction.

The 1950s saw the introduction of a £1 dental care charge and a one shilling prescription charge. These are fees that have increased continuously since then. The latest attack has come in the form of polyclinics.

The plan is to centralise services into 'specialist centres' which means closing many GPs surgeries and other facilities and merging them into one so-called 'super-hospital' covering a regional area and will usually be owned and run by the private sector.

Photo Paul Mattsson

Photo Paul Mattsson

The policy will save money in public spending while creating plenty of profit for big business, just what New Labour want. This will be at the expense of patients who will be treated by doctors who don't know them because of short term contracts for commercial health companies, that is if the patients can even get to the polyclinics in the first place.

The polyclinics will lead to further distance to travel for primary health care, especially difficult for those who use the NHS more than anyone else, the elderly. Polyclinics will lead to primary health care being run in the interests of profit not patients.

Most health workers are not paid a decent wage, having been given effectively a pay cut because of inflation over the next three years. They face more attacks in the future including the increasing privatisation of the NHS. We need an alliance between communities and health workers to prevent further attacks and reverse those already carried out.

There is genuine support for the NHS. We should celebrate its 60th anniversary by continuing to fight the cuts, closures and privatisation of what is one of our basic human rights.

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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.
  • 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.
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In The Socialist 9 July 2008:

Striking back against low pay


Campaign for a New Workers Party

The working class needs its own party

CNWP conference: Wanted - a new mass workers' party


Socialist Party news and analysis

UK economy sliding into recession

Rich get richer: Why should we pay the price!

MP backs student fees campaign

Bonuses for chiefs, pay restraint for civil service workers

Government lies on public-sector pay

High farce from Boris Johnson

G8 leaders' 'world hunger' banquet

On the other side of the financial divide...


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Defend the NHS!

Property deals threaten private nursing homes

Cancer vaccines: who decides?


Marxist analysis: history

Terry Fields: A socialist voice that rocked Whitehall


Socialist Party LGBT

Marching against homophobia & racism


Socialist Party workplace news

Argos warehouse workers vote to strike

DWP strikes bring talks

National Shop Stewards Network Conference: Organising migrant workers

A day in the life of a call centre worker

Call centre charter: A framework for workers' rights

RMT conference discusses crisis of political representation


Shop Workers' Union Usdaw

Socialist stands for Usdaw general secretary


 

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Related links:

NHS:

triangleWomen's health matters

trianglePublic sector workers respond to the budget

triangleSocial care: End privatisation and let workers decide how it's run

triangleBoot private companies out of our NHS

triangleTory consultation on home-use abortion pills

Health:

triangleA fighting programme for women's rights and socialism

triangleWest London Socialist Party: The fight for women's health to be a trade union issue

triangleNHS white paper: no solution to failed Tory policies

triangleCovid workplace safety

Privatisation:

triangleTories admit market failure - we want our NHS back!

triangleChildren in care: Privatisation is not working

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