Socialist Worker

Health workers step up the pressure against the government

by Patrick Ward
Issue No. 2245

Medical students protest in London in March

Medical students protest in London in March

Health workers were set to take action against NHS cuts this week. This comes after tens of thousands of NHS staff took to the streets on last Saturday’s TUC demonstration.

A TUC-organised All Together for the NHS day of action this Friday 1 April is due to see protests nationwide.

Protesters were set to lobby Tory health secretary Andrew Lansley at his Cambridge constituency.

In London, Lib Dem MPs Simon Hughes and Lynne Featherstone were also to face angry protests.

Lobbies were planned for dozens of other Tory and Lib Dem MPs. A bed-push is planned through the streets of Brighton.

Health workers in east London were to march on Deutsche Bank from Barts and the Royal London hospitals on Wednesday.

This is the same day that thousands of teachers and council workers in Tower Hamlets were to strike against the cuts (see above).

Deutsche banker Robert Camus caused outrage when he waved a £10 note at the 1,000-strong NHS Day X demonstration of health workers that marched through the City last month.

He was sacked—but still left with his £50,000 bonus.

Demonstrators will demand his bonus be donated to the cancer ward at Barts, which is threatened by cuts.

Thousands of health workers took leaflets for this week’s actions on the TUC demo.

“People are feeling the cuts already,” said Jordan Rivera, an occupational therapist at Homerton Hospital in Hackney. “They have less colleagues to support them—it’s affecting their patients.

“We had a big delegation on the TUC demo. People have started talking about going on strike.”

The Health Worker Network (HWN) was set up last week to help coordinate action to defend the NHS.

Andy, a nursing assistant in London, told Socialist Worker, “Workers are fearful of losing their jobs. But they are also very angry.

“The HWN is a really important development. It can bring together campaign groups and health workers.

“It isn’t just about the cuts—it about how to fight them.

“We need to coordinate industrial action and move towards a mass strike to defend all services.”

Medical students are also involved with the new network.

Many have been at the forefront of resistance to the cuts in the NHS following the militant student protests of last year.

The HWN has launched a bulletin to bring together examples of resistance to the government’s attacks.

This network has the potential to help spread the fightback around the country.

For more information on the Health Worker Network email [email protected]

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Article information

Tue 29 Mar 2011, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2245
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