Socialist Worker

Letters—Fight to defend the NHS, the crisis is the fault of bosses

Issue No. 2540

The junior doctors dispute last year showed the way forward in the fight against NHS cuts

The junior doctors dispute last year showed the way forward in the fight against NHS cuts (Pic: Roger Blackwell/flikr)

Racist LBC radio host Nick Ferrari wants a US-style health service to force overseas patients to pay insurance or produce a credit card when visiting A&E or local GP surgeries.

This is already a reality. At the Craigmillar GP surgery in east Edinburgh people from eastern Europe are being forced to produce identification upon arrival for insurance purposes.

The Tories want to use NHS ID numbers as a method of screening and implementing this racist scheme.

And NHS bosses are arguing that this is good practice and are using already under-pressure IT systems to identify and charge overseas patients.

Immigrants are being blamed for putting pressure on NHS trusts.

But the real culprits are the Tories and their privatisation programme, rammed through under the guise of recovering accounting costs for treating overseas patients.

There is opposition from below to Jeremy Hunt’s plans to implement the structure needed to enforce the policy.

Dr Stokes Lampard from the Royal College of GPs has said that a GP’s role is to deliver care, not to act as border guards.

Ayesha Saleem


NHS campaigners celebrated as outsourcing firm Carillion had their £200 million “estate management services” contract with Nottingham’s hospitals ended two years early.

It was announced on last Wednesday that services will come back in-house by 1 April.

Keep Our NHS Public campaigners, alongside patients and workers, have harried hospital management over 18 months to end this failing contract.

What finally did it was a report of rats in a ward kitchen, publicised by the Unison union.

Imaginative campaigning combined with the popularity of a publicly-run NHS was the root of our success.

Richard Buckwell


Khan he kick it? No

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he would make his 2016 election campaign a “referendum on housing”.

Less than a year later, there are already signs that he is retreating from some of his manifesto commitments and adopting policies that are worryingly close to those he claims to challenge.

Criticisms of Khan’s emerging housing policies arose almost as soon as he was elected.

His original aspiration to make 50 percent of new homes “affordable” has already been dropped to 35 percent.

Promises to protect residents and social rented homes have been diluted. Meanwhile, Khan has been virtually silent on the toxic Housing and Planning Act.

A closer look at Khan’s policies give further cause for concern. He has a budget of over £3 billion to deliver 90,000 new “affordable” homes by 2021.

But 65 percent of these will be “home ownership products” targeted at people with an income well above the London median of £30,000.

Nowhere in Khan’s blizzard of new policies is there any commitment to build and invest in council housing.

He is preparing the ground for a continuation of the kind of social cleansing of working class neighbourhoods that has characterised the last 20 years.

Sadiq Khan needs to fulfil his promise to help all private renters, not just a few and get involved in the campaign to Axe the Housing and Planning Act.

Glyn Robbins

East London

Take mental health oppression seriously

The left has a poor record on mental health. It starts and ends with campaigns against cuts.

Mental health oppression goes much wider—mental health sufferers are dismissed as “mad” and misunderstood.

For example, I have a mental health disability, but I am also a Marxist with sound political ideas in my head. It’s about how you separate the two.

The constant linking of mental health illness to either right wing terrorist attacks or so-called radicalisation is fast becoming an industry in itself. Those who suffer from a mental health illness are finding their disability being used as a scapegoat.

Mental ill health is a disability. There is such a thing as mental health oppression and the left needs to challenge it.

John Curtis


Build the fight against racism here

It’s fantastic to see the mass movement being galvanised against Trump. However, we must not forget the enemy at home.

In the week that MPs have voted to trigger Article 50, the Tory prime minister has found time to make it increasingly clear that the Tories favour a “hard Brexit”.

Socialists must make campaigning to defend freedom of movement across Europe a top priority.

We also need to resist the Islamophobic Prevent policy and continue to campaign for refugees to be allowed in.

Stand Up To Racism is ideally placed to link all these issues and all activists should join and build it.

Rhiannon Bartlett


Check your humility

The upsurge in xenophobia and racism we have experienced since the referendum was entirely predictable, yet Socialist Worker was an enthusiastic supporter of Brexit.

It is all very well to criticise Jeremy Corbyn for backsliding on free movement. But if the referendum had not gone the way you wanted he would not have had to deal with the issue.

As reader Mick Hawker points out (Letters, 25 January), perhaps a little humility might be in order.

Derrick Hibbett

East London

NHS protests were big too

there are a huge number of us protesting continually about NHS cuts—it just doesn’t get the media coverage.

Also, there are lots of separate protests on different days spread out all over the county, ongoing, week in, week out, for years.

If you add together the attendance figures for all the NHS demos over the past few years it would vastly outnumber the Trump demos because the NHS protests are consistent and ongoing.

Janet Gifford

on Facebook

Movement can trump Trump

Building a wall, halting immigration.

To me, it’s reminiscent of what Hitler was up to in Nazi Germany all those years ago. I was suspicious about Trump early last year when he was running for president.

I thought to myself then, if he gets in to power there will be some shit going on in the US and its turned up trumps.

It’s only been two weeks that he has been in power and he’s had his first court case and lost.

Mike Briggs


Labour should look outwards

Labour don’t have a chance of winning the next election with this infighting still happening.

Chris Austin

on Facebook

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Article information

Tue 7 Feb 2017, 15:38 GMT
Issue No. 2540
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