Socialist Worker

NHS facing staff shortages—and hospital sell-off

Issue No. 2208

Doctors’ leaders warned this week that the NHS is facing a wave of cuts—even before the government starts slashing its budget.

The BMA doctors’ organisation said that almost two thirds of members it surveyed reported a freeze on recruitment in their area.

Despite Tory assurances that frontline services would be protected, most respondents said that unfilled vacancies would include medical staff, meaning nurses’ posts are left empty.

Two out of five respondents said that patients’ access to treatments was being limited.

BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum said, “Our data shows that cuts are already being planned and that these will have an impact on doctors’ ability to care for their patients.”

Campaigners against the handing over of an entire NHS hospital to the private sector are set to march in Cambridgeshire on Saturday of next week.

Health bosses plan to “contract out” the running of Hinchingbrooke hospital in Huntingdon. This will be the first time this has happened in the NHS.

Bidding firms hope that they will be able to cash in on the privatisation mania that continues to grip the health service.

Three private companies—Serco, Ramsay Health Care and Circle—are bidding to take control of the hospital in May next year.

Health workers, patients and trade unionists are demanding that the strategic health authority drops its plans.

Protest organiser Steve Sweeney said, “Our fear is that the companies who are bidding for the hospital have no experience of running hospitals.

“Hinchingbrooke hospital is being used as a testing ground for further NHS privatisation.

“This could lead to the end of the NHS as we know it.”

Demonstrate to defend Hinchingbrooke Hospital, Saturday 10 July, 12 noon, Riverside Park, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 3RP. Speakers include Dr John Lister, Keep Our NHS Public. Called by Huntingdon and St Neots trades council

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