Socialist Worker

LETTERS - NHS workers must boycott health charges and checks

Issue No. 2551

Filipino nurses protesting against Daily Mail racism in 2015

Filipino nurses protesting against Daily Mail racism in 2015 (Pic: Guy Smallman)

Health workers need to say no to being border guards and no to charges for the NHS (Socialist Worker, 19 April).

As doctors in the Unite union we are calling on NHS staff not to carry out time-wasting “eligibility” checks.

Some of the most vulnerable people, including people who have been trafficked, refugees and homeless people, will be affected by the checks.

As the Home Office rejects more applications, people will try and provide care for themselves.

Lots of people know that the government uses patient registration details to get up-to-date addresses, find people and deport them.

You could call this a murderous return to pre-NHS days for those affected.

From my experience as a resident and GP in inner city London, I know many migrants and others without documents will find it really difficult to get care.

Many will avoid visiting a GP or hospital as they fear the lack of confidentiality.


Already, women find it difficult to get maternity care. They may turn up in labour, putting mother and baby at high risk.

They may give birth untended, or seek a backstreet abortion as the NHS is closed to them.

People with contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV, will put up with symptoms instead of seeking treatment. This puts their own and other people’s lives at risk.

Early signs of illnesses such as cancer will go undiagnosed and untreated. Many migrants and homeless people have depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

No NHS mental health services will be available and people will become more ill.

Trying to blot out the misery often leads to alcohol and substance misuse problems.

Health workers need to deliver health care, and boycott the administration of eligibility checks and charges.

Anna Livingstone, East London

Say no to vile attack on Mend

The Times newspaper launched a disgraceful attack on Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend) earlier this month.

Mend has played an exemplary role with Stand Up To Racism in combating Islamophobia, racism and antisemitism.

The article was yet another example of media Islamophobia and sought to sow division between Muslims and Jews.

As a lifelong Jewish anti-racist campaigner and co-author of the Anti Nazi League pamphlet on Holocaust denial, I have worked closely with Mend for two years.

Siema Iqbal, one of those attacked by The Times, spoke very movingly at our recent Confronting the Rise of Racism event in Newham, east London.

She and Mend’s Azad Ali have spoken on many united anti-racist platforms.

Mend’s principled stance stands in stark contrast to the deluge of Islamophobic coverage in the media, including The Times, that is fuelling violent hate crime.

The Times even upholds right wing columnist Katie Hopkins, who called migrants “cockroaches”, as a victim.

Islamophobia across Europe and the US has fuelled fascist organisations that pose a real threat to both Muslims and Jews.

I know that in standing against such prejudice and hate, Mend can be relied on as a principled ally.

I cannot say the same of The Times.

Rob Ferguson, Convenor, Newham Stand Up To Racism

Media bias masks the real issues in election

What is there not to like about voting Labour?

An economy that works for all and secure homes for all. A free National Education Service and reversing the cuts made in education.

Action to secure our environment.

Security at work by making sure workers’ rights are protected and improved. Addressing the unfairness of benefits assessments.

Acting to end prejudice. Securing the NHS and promoting democracy, peace and justice.

Instead of the media’s character assassination of Jeremy Corbyn, why won’t they focus on the real issues—NHS, education, social care, mental health?

And while they’re at it, they should address the problems the Tories have caused.

David Bryce, on Facebook

May's links with Turkey show her true colours

The referendum result in Turkey over a week ago, which narrowly voted to give powers away from parliament to the president, has been called a fraud.

This follows a failed coup last summer in which 125,000 state workers have been purged from their jobs. A further 40,000 people have been arrested, with Amnesty International citing evidence of detainees being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape.

This of course did not prevent Theresa May visiting Turkey in January of this year to secure £100 million worth of fighter jet sales to this despotic regime.

By your friends shall ye know them!

John Appleyard, West Yorkshire

We support school strikes

The NHS, rail workers and now teachers are all striking (Socialist Worker, 19 April).

All because of cuts implemented by the Tories.

Jon Long, on Facebook

Too right. I bet schools will still be expected to meet their GCSEs and Sats targets, despite the cuts.

Ginny Stanners Putland, on Facebook

It would be good if they coordinated their actions.

Doreen Ogden, on Facebook

Protest over Trump’s visit

So “The Donald” is well and truly invited to visit Britain.

It’s an invitation made without consultation.

Let’s have protests against him wherever he dares to set foot.

Anna Taylor, Huddersfield

An insult from Picturehouse

Free popcorn for Picturehouse workers (Socialist Worker, 19 April) is an insulting attempt at bribery.

The CEO gets a salary of £2.6 million a year and can’t pay workers a Living Wage. I hope their strike is successful.

Nick Browne, on Facebook

Boot May out in 8 June poll

It's time that people saw the Conservative party for what it is and always has been.

They are the party of the rich and privileged and it's time we booted the Tories out.

Let's make 8 June the end of May.

Matt Hockridge, Northamptonshire

Refugees are not to blame

They keep saying fires such as the one at Grande-Synthe camp (Socialist Worker, 19 April) are being set by refugees in fights and riots. I don’t believe it for a second. This is locals trying to get rid of them.

Chris O’Neil, on Facebook

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Article information

Tue 25 Apr 2017, 16:25 BST
Issue No. 2551
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