Socialist Worker

A foundation for business

Issue No. 2340

The Department of Health does not manage foundation trusts (FTs).

These trusts can borrow money from the financial markets and go into business with private companies.

The first FTs were set up under New Labour as a stepping stone to the privatisation of the NHS.

Then health secretary Alan Milburn claimed they were about “community empowerment and staff involvement.”

Labour laid the basis for crisis

In 2000 Tony Blair admitted what had been clear for decades—that the NHS was underfunded.

Labour did put more money into the NHS. Some of this went towards improving workers’ wages.

Yet much of it went on management as New Labour laid the ground for privatisation.

Low pay, long hours and stress

Nurses work in the health service because they want to help people.

But cuts make their jobs harder.

Nurses often work 12 hour shifts on rotas that quickly swap them from day to night shifts.

Staff shortages make it hard to take breaks and increase the stress.

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