Socialist Worker

Unite for our NHS—blame Tories not migrants

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2543

NHS worker Carlos

NHS worker Carlos


Patients’ lives are being lost as relentless Tory attacks have pushed the NHS past breaking point.

NHS England’s finances are “deteriorating at an alarming rate” and impacting “patients’ access to services”, a MPs’ report warned this week.

The Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) that will axe hundreds of hospital departments and services across England will only intensify this crisis.

In a disgusting effort to shift the blame, the Tories and right wing press are attempting to turn people’s anger against migrants.

Their racist smears paint migrants as “health tourists” who drain the NHS’s precious resources—and they are bringing in racist rules to restrict access to care.

Carlos is Spanish and works in the NHS in south London.

He told Socialist Worker, “Throughout history they always try this to divide us, but the NHS was built by migrants and without us it would not work.”

We won’t beat back the Tories’ assault if we don’t fight all their attempts to split us up.

As Carlos said, “Migrants, health workers and other workers have to unite against the real enemy—the Tories.”

'It's our NHS': Demonstrate this Saturday, 4 March, 12 noon, Tavistock Square, London WC1 (nearest Tubes Euston and Russell Square). Called by Health Campaigns Together and People's Assembly, suported by Unison, Unite, Bfawu, CWU, NUT, PCS and many more. See www.ournhs.info

Killed for want of a bed—NHS cutbacks cost lives

Hospital closures will lead to deaths

Hospital closures will lead to deaths (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A woman has died from a stroke because there was a shortage of intensive care beds at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. She was killed by Tory cuts.

Nottinghamshire assistant coroner Heidi Connor ruled last month that Teresa Dennett’s life could have been saved if she had been operated on.

Connor has now warned NHS England boss Simon Stevens that “there is a risk that future deaths will occur unless action is taken”.

Dennett was admitted into King’s Mill Hospital in Mansfield at 9.30am last February. As her condition deteriorated throughout the day, a consultant in Nottingham said she should be moved there for urgent surgery.

But this move was blocked because all of the hospital’s intensive care beds were full.

Tory plans to slash hundreds of hospital departments and services across England will make the situation worse.

Carving England up into 44 “footprints”, the Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs) aim to slash £22 billion by 2020.

Richard Buckwell chairs Keep Our NHS Public in Nottingham. He told Socialist Worker, “One of the proposals in our STP is to get rid of 200 beds from the 1,700 in the city.

“The hospitals have already been on ‘black alert’ this winter.”

The Tories claim the STPs will improve patient care.

While it’s true that some procedures are best done in large hubs, the Tories plan is for wholesale cuts.

Presume

The STPs presume that health service can be shifted onto “primary care” in the community. But cuts to local councils’ budgets have hit social care services (see pages 10&11).

In a sign of the growing resistance, over 2,000 people marched to defend local hospital services in Grantham in Lincolnshire last Saturday.

A further 800 marched through Norwich to defend the NHS on the same day.

The national demonstration in defence of the NHS in central London this Saturday is an opportunity to bring all the fights together.

Called by Health Campaigns Together, it is backed by the Unison, Unite and GMB unions and the People’s Assembly.

Both Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell are set to speak.The demonstration must be a launchpad for a serious national campaign.

Anne Drinkell, chair of Save Our Hospitals Campaign in west London, told Socialist Worker, “Nobody can deny that the STPs are about anything other than cuts or closures.

“Lots of councils that felt reluctant to refuse to sign up to the STPs are now more open. We have to push them into opposition.

“The unions, including Unison, have got to come together and unite against the STPs.

“The march will be fantastic, but it would have been even bigger if the TUC and Labour Party had officially backed it.”

A glimmer of the sort of action we need was seen during the junior doctors’ strikes last year.

Without any real support from the TUC and union leaders, the doctors’ BMA leadership called off strikes.

It will take a movement—with mass campaigning and industrial action at its heart—to push back the Tories’ assault on the NHS.


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