Socialist Worker

Services on the brink

Issue No. 2575

Campaigning to save the NHS

Campaigning to save the NHS (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Public services are at breaking point after seven years of Tory austerity.

Standards in patient care could collapse by the NHS’s 70th birthday next July, according to a shocking report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) watchdog. The CQC estimated that one in eight older people already go without essential care.

Chronic shortages of staff and beds have left the NHS “straining at the seams”. This meant 2.5 million people spent longer than four hours in accident and emergency in 2016/17. Hospital bed occupancy has shot up to 91.4 percent—and has not dropped below the recommended 85 percent for 15 years.

The NHS crisis has combined with the slashing of council social care budgets to create a perfect storm.

This same Tory recipe of budget cuts and privatisation means prisons in England and Wales are “full to bursting”. More than 85,000 people are languishing in jails—that’s just over 1,000 below the “usable operational capacity”.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons report said, “Prisoners are held in conditions that fall short of what most members of the public would consider as reasonable or decent.”

The only solution to save public services is to reverse the privatisation and budget cuts—and send fewer people to prison.

Bringing our services back from breaking point means breaking the Tories.

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