Socialist Worker

Health


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.

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.

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.

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.

Private plan a health hazard

26 January 2002
WHAT PRIVATE healthcare really means was underlined by a shocking case last week. The inquest into the death of Laura Touche uncovered a catalogue of practices at the exclusive Portland private hospital which the coroner said were "a cause for public concern".

NHS

19 January 2002
HUNDREDS OF porters, cleaners and ancillary staff at Morecambe Bay Health Trust in Barrow, Kendal and Lancaster have unanimously rejected management's 10 percent pay offer. Most workers currently take home a measly £130 a week and are demanding a 15 percent rise.

NHS Patients offered no real choice

15 December 2001
"A war on the public sector." That is how GMB trade union leader John Edmonds described New Labour's new plans to send NHS patients for treatment in private hospitals or abroad.

Health service: Tax the rich to solve NHS crisis

08 December 2001
New Labour has finally admitted the NHS is in a huge crisis and needs more funding. A row has broken out about how to fund the health service, with talk of raising taxes, and even of a special "health tax". All the politicians shy away from the key way to raise money for health-taxing the rich.

Gestures can't hide Labour's failures

01 December 2001
There is one fact that all the spin surrounding chancellor Gordon Brown's pre-budget statement cannot hide. Under New Labour investment in public services in Britain will only just reach the level it was at under John Major's Tory government-and that's after Brown's supposed major boost to public spending.

Union's shoddy deal over PFI

01 December 2001
Leaders of the giant public sector UNISON union hailed a deal they struck with the government over the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) last week. The union claims the deal is a victory which will stop thousands of health workers having their jobs transferred to private companies.

Community nurses

17 November 2001
Community psychiatric nurses in Manchester are furious to hear that they are to be downgraded.

Medical secretaries

17 November 2001
"We've beaten the bosses twice!" That was the reaction of medical secretaries in Glasgow this week as their indefinite strike action forced management to back down for the second time. The 300 medical secretaries, all low paid women workers, have shown how determined and all-out action can win. Last month, after just two days of indefinite strike action, the workers had appeared to win a victory when bosses struck a deal that conceded to their demands to be put on a higher grade.

Rankin Maternity Unit: 'I'm still a red on this issue'

03 March 2001
A liverly, noisy demonstration of over 400 people took place in Greenock near Glasgow on Saturday of last week against the possible closure of the Rankin Maternity Unit at the Inverclyde Royal Hospital. The march, which took place despite freezing weather, was the culmination of six weeks of well organised activity by a group of committed members of the local community.

March to stop PFI

10 February 2001
"We urge our supporters to be on the streets of Birmingham on 3 March. There is strength in numbers and we are determined to get our message against privatisation across to the government."

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