Socialist Worker

It’s official - the government's to blame for NHS crisis, not workers

Issue No. 2366

A report into NHS patient safety refused to blame health workers for the crisis of care and demanded the government tackle the chaos their policies have created.

The Berwick report, issued last week, said that health bosses must stop blaming staff and put patients’ health before their targets. 

Shockingly, it had to tell bosses to “make sure pride and joy in work, not fear, infuse the NHS”.

Just last week Tory health minister Jeremy Hunt was forced to announce £500 million for A&Es.

But the NHS is in such crisis that Tories and health bosses know this will not be enough for the beds and staff needed.

There are not even emergency beds in private facilities which the NHS can use but at a huge cost. 

It was also revealed that private ambulance crews working for the NHS have so little money they sleep in tents when they work away from home.

The workers are only paid an allowance of £35 a day for food and board.

Some 1,500 jobs are under threat at Barts Health Trust in east London. 

Millions

This is because it pays millions of pounds every year to private companies. 

This is for the interest on the cost of the Royal London Hospital built under Private Finance Initiatives (PFI). 

GPs are now overwhelmed by all the services they are meant to provide as it gets harder to get a patient into hospital. 

And “bed management teams” roam wards looking for anyone who can be sent home early.

Hospitals designed to run with three empty beds out of twenty for unusual emergencies now have no empty beds.  

There is a crisis every time someone needs to be admitted through A&E. 

The Tories keep being battered by community campaign victories such as Whittington and Lewisham, and opposition (see left).

If leaders of health unions, Unison, Unite and GMB fought back they could finish them off.

Public meeting to defend all Barts Health Services and Staff, Monday 19 August, 7.30pm, William Morris Centre, Greenleaf Rd, Walthamstow, London E17 6QQ. Called by Unison Waltham Forest Health branch

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