Socialist Worker

Health


Labour orders £22bn privatisation for NHS Logistics

09 September 2006
The government has announced one of the biggest ever health privatisation schemes - selling off the contract to supply and equip hospitals across England. But the workers threatened with privatisation are balloting for strike action to oppose the government’s plans.

Health service round-up

09 September 2006
Anti-cuts march It would have taken more than torrential rain last Saturday to keep the people of Cumbria from marching to stop their Westmorland hospital from closing the essential heart and cardiac ward.

Coventry porters' action wins a cash prize

09 September 2006
Forty porters, members of T&G and Unison, at the new PFI-funded University Hospital in Coventry stopped work for four hours on Friday of last week.

Three-day strike at Whipps Cross fights the Rentokil parasites

09 September 2006
Over 200 workers at Whipps Cross hospital, in east London, struck from Wednesday to Friday last week. They are demanding equal terms and conditions to colleagues directly employed by the NHS.

Whipps Cross hospital workers begin three-day strike

02 September 2006
Domestics, porters and catering staff at Whipps Cross hospital in Leytonstone, east London, began a three-day strike on Wednesday of this week. The workers, employed by Rentokil Initial, are trying to win equal pay and conditions to those employed directly by the NHS.

27,000 on the streets in Cornwall over NHS cuts

02 September 2006
An estimated 27,000 people marched through the Cornish town of Hayle (population 8,317) last Sunday, to protest against hospital closures.

PFI in the health service: the price of a light switch? Just £333

26 August 2006
HOW MUCH does it cost to change a light switch? £333, if you’re an NHS hospital locked into a private finance initiative (PFI) contract.

South Tyneside hospital domestics threaten indefinite strike

19 August 2006
Domestics at South Tyneside NHS foundation trust completed a six-day strike on Tuesday of this week. They are now considering indefinite action.

Racism and the NHS: Treated as 'a lesser being'

14 February 2004
David "Rocky" Bennett was a talented drummer who loved football. He had two children. Those who knew him called him a "lovely man". But Rocky was just 38 when he died on 30 October 1998. He died in a psychiatric clinic in Norwich after four nurses held him face down for nearly half an hour.

Greed breeds hospital superbugs

13 December 2003
A CAMPAIGN of "naming and shaming" dirty hospitals has been launched by health secretary John Reid.

Swansea health workers to escalate strike

19 October 2002
SOME 500 porters, telephonists and cleaners in the Unison union at Swansea's Singleton, Morriston, Hillhouse and Cefn Coed hospitals were on the verge of escalating strike action as Socialist Worker went to press. The issue is resistance to poverty pay levels.

'New Labour is still exploiting health workers'

04 May 2002
"An insult." "Taking advantage of our goodwill." "This government does not appreciate us." They were some of the reactions of health workers to chancellor Gordon Brown’s refusal to offer them decent pay after his recent budget. The workers were speaking on the first day of the health conference of the public sector Unison union.

Medical secretaries

23 March 2002
The boss was praying for rain. He claimed, "You won't last. Once it's cold and raining you'll be back at work." But defiant medical secretaries at Sunderland hospitals rubbished their boss's predictions.

'We will not be treated as low paid dogsbodies'

09 March 2002
"We're not militant, but now it's come to the crunch. We've finally had enough, and we're fighting." That's how medical secretary Susan Mann summed up the mood on an angry and lively picket line outside Sunderland Royal Hospital on Tuesday of this week. She was one of 90 low paid women health workers on the picket line at the start of their three-day strike. All of them had the same message. They are fed up of being treated like low paid dogsbodies. Medical secretaries across the north east of England have been fighting to win a higher grade and better pay.

Wages down, cancer soars

09 March 2002
Thousands of people are dying unnecessarily because waiting times for NHS cancer treatment are getting longer. A key reason is the shortage of radiologists in the NHS. A third of people who train never enter the profession because the pay is so bad.

Secretaries get fighting spirit

02 March 2002
Hundreds of medical secretaries in the north east of England are set to strike for three days from next Tuesday. The women workers are some of the lowest paid in the National Health Service. Most of them earn less than £13,000 a year. For years they have put up with low pay, working in an underfunded NHS without any reward for their work.

MMR debate

16 February 2002
I am the father of two young children, one five, one nearly two. After some anxiety, my partner and I decided they should have the MMR vaccination. I believe that was the right choice, and that scientific evidence supports that view. But I can equally well understand why many, many parents do not trust MMR or government advice about it.

Real cure is cash

02 February 2002
"There is no longer a case of a winter beds crisis-there is a total beds crisis all the time." That was the reaction of a worker at the Whittington Hospital in north London after the furore that erupted over the treatment of 94 year old Rose Addis. Rose's family complained that she was left unwashed for three days in the hospital's casualty department.

Health workers

02 February 2002
Medical secretaries in hospitals across the north east of England are gearing up for a fight over pay. The move follows the victory won by medical secretaries in Glasgow last year, when all-out strike action won a regrading and so higher pay. "Medical secretaries are the hidden workers in the NHS," explained Clare Williams, chair of health in the Unison union's northern region. "They check records and send out appointments.

Fury reaches right to the top of the union

26 January 2002
Alan Milburn's plan to ram through even more privatisation in the NHS sent shock waves through the Unison executive last week. A meeting of the union's health executive was so stunned that its business was suspended to allow people to take stock of Milburn's plan and discuss our response.

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