£250m NHS cuts in Nuneaton and Warwick revealed

£250m NHS cuts in Nuneaton and Warwick revealed

George Eliot Hospital (pic: Cov Telegraph)

Today the Coventry Telegraph revealed that under the “Sustainability and Transformation Plan”, set to be officially announced on Tuesday, A&E, maternity and children’s care facilities will all be closed at Nuneaton’s George Eliot Hospital.

The Telegraph states that other headline changes include:

  • Closing the Accident and Emergency department at George Eliot Hospital as well as moving maternity and children’s care to University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).
  • Bosses also want more people to have babies at home, there will be restrictions on overweight people and smokers getting non-emergency surgery and increasing the time between hip replacements.
  • Cancer care is also in line to be reviewed.
  • Stroke care at Warwick Hospital and George Eliot is also set to be moved to Coventry

Further NHS cuts in Nuneaton and Warwick threaten services across the area, including in Coventry. Along with further privatisation this will undermine our health service – the NHS should be completely publicly owned and free at the point of use! Coventry and Nuneaton Socialist Party  has a proud history of fighting and helping to stop numerous attacks to the NHS and George Eliot Hospital, from both Tory and New Labour governments, and will continue to campaign to save NHS services.

We will be mobilising for the Health Campaigns Together “It’s Our NHS” demonstration in London on March 4th to bring together the many local campaigns fighting to save NHS services in their area.

If you would like to get involved, get in touch – fill in the form below!

Support the junior doctors! New strikes announced

Support the junior doctors! New strikes announced

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Picket line at Walsgrave

The union representing junior doctors has just announced a new plan of industrial action. The British Medical Association (BMA) will go on strike against the imposition of the new contract initially for 5 days, beginning on Monday 12th September to Friday 16th September between 8am and 5pm.

The Socialist Party and the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition fully supports the junior doctors in their campaign to defend their terms and conditions and the NHS itself.

It is now a critical task that they receive the maximum support of the entire trade union movement. The TUC will hold it’s annual conference in Brighton and it needs to be turned in to a council of war with the aim of building co-ordinated industrial action linking up the many different disputes in the public and private sector to defeat the capitalist austerity agenda of the Tories.

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) will be holding a public rally at TUC conference where the speakers will include Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Ronnie Draper of the BFAWU and many more and will be discussing how we build support for the junior doctors and the opposition to the Tories.

LIVE: Junior doctors strike in Coventry

LIVE: Junior doctors strike in Coventry

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Support the doctors – save our NHS!

Junior doctors have taken all-out strike action today as part of their campaign against the planned imposition of new contracts by hated Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Throughout the strike doctors have had fantastic support from the public, including patients, and today is no different!

Despite the fear campaign by right-wing newspapers, the strike is still strong and the doctors are determined to win. The co-operation between the BMA and the teachers union, the NUT, leading to a joint demonstration is hugely important and should develop into a campaign of joint industrial action, to build for a 24-hour general strike!

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Junior doctors strike remains strong

Junior doctors strike remains strong

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Striking doctors on the picket line today

Junior doctors in Coventry and across the country took another day of strike action today as part of their campaign against the imposition of new contracts by despised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The doctors plan to escalate their action to an all-out 48 hour strike later this month, and the morale and public support was still with them. Most cars going past honked their horns and gave a thumbs up – as one of the doctors told us, most patients support the strike because they recognise that it is a strike to save the NHS.

There was some discussion about the planned legal challenge to the imposition of the contracts, and one of the strikers told us that while he hoped it was successful it could be a long and drawn out process – “and we want to beat this imposition by August, not in a years time!”

Coventry Socialists build support for junior doctors in Radford

Coventry Socialists build support for junior doctors in Radford

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Solidarity with junior doctors

Coventry Socialist Party hit the streets of Radford over the weekend, building support for the strike of junior doctors due to take place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.

Setting up our our campaign table on Jubilee Crescent, there was a great deal of support for the junior doctors – people can see this is not just about junior doctors, but about the future of the entire NHS.

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Signing the petition

There is still a great deal of anger regarding the involvement of the Private Finance Initiatives (PFI AKA Profit From Illness) in the health service, a symptom of which is the extortionate car parking charges at Walsgrave hospital. Little wonder, when they are raking in over £2 million per year from people in the Coventry area!

Hundreds of leaflets were distributed outlining the case for the junior doctors and how the NHS can be defended. Numerous copies of our weekly newspaper The Socialist were also sold.

With the government split over the EU referendum and in crisis over the job losses in the steel industry, it is critical that the entire trade union movement supports the junior doctors not just in words, but in deeds, by organising co-ordinated industrial action including a 24 hour general strike.

The government can be beaten. We need to make it happen

Determined Junior Doctors begin 48 hour strike in Coventry

Determined Junior Doctors begin 48 hour strike in Coventry

Junior Doctors took to the picket line at the entrance to Walsgrave Hospital once again this morning despite the relentless rain.

It marked the beginning of the first of three 48 hour strikes planned by the BMA for 9-10 March, 6-7 and 26-27 April, in response to Health Minister Jeremy Hunt’s declaration of war on the doctors by imposing a contract which will remove safeguards to them working more unsocial hours, and for less pay.

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It’s clear that this dispute is over so much more than pay and hours. Junior doctors know the NHS is under threat. This contract is part of the Tories’ plan to destabilise the NHS, run it down, claim it is failing, and then pass it over to the eagerly waiting hands of the private sector.

Doctors didn’t pick this fight but make no mistake, they are determined to win it! They know what’s at stake. It is essential for all health workers and all of us who use the NHS to support them in their fight. Other health unions need to show the determination of their BMA colleagues and come together to organise coordinated action to save the NHS.

Emergency protest

A national demonstration in March should be called as an emergency to galvanise support behind health workers and build for an intensive campaign to defeat the government.

Junior doctors strike again in Coventry

Junior doctors strike again in Coventry

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Striking doctors on the picket line at Walsgrave

Over 25 junior doctors took to the picket line yesterday morning outside Walsgrave Hospital. The youthful and lively strikers were inundated with support from the public with non stop honks and cheers from passing cars, pedestrians and other hospital staff.

Jeremy Hunt’s embarrassing attempts to discredit the doctors over recent days in numerous TV interviews have only given further determination to these doctors to carry on battling – and even more reason for the general public to support them!

As one doctor said as he was setting up flags and placards “the Tories have attacked the welfare state since its creation… now they have the cheek to get something for nothing off us.”

The wildcat unofficial strike action taken by Coventry refuse workers the day before was also widely discussed, and added a further inspiration and confidence boost to the doctors in this ongoing fight with the government.

STOP PRESS: Today the Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, has just announced in the House of Commons that the new contracts for Junior Doctors will be imposed on them. Coventry Socialist Party gives its full support and solidarity to the doctors in its battle with the Tories and and the wider struggle to defend the NHS.

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Junior Doctors on strike – report from Coventry picket line

Junior Doctors on strike – report from Coventry picket line

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Picket line at Walsgrave

Jane Nellist writes

Junior Doctors marched out of work at University Hospital Coventry at 8am on Tuesday to form a very well supported picket line.

Trade unionists from NUT,  Unite, UNISON, PCS and Coventry TUC as well as other hospital workers gave solidarity support for the Junior Doctors campaign which, although their strike was about attacks on their pay and working conditions, they made clear that they need people to understand that what is ultimately at stake under the Tory govt is the NHS itself.

There was a clear determination to win this battle. The young doctors understand that if this government get away with imposing this contract then, as Petra who has recently returned to work following the birth of her child told me (and as seen on Local TV), she will find it difficult to work a contract that means longer hours and less pay.

It was clear from the enthusiasm of drivers beeping their horns and waving that the junior doctors have the public support.  Their victory will be a victory for all of us.
Send messages of support to gerard.millen@gmail.com

Read reports from around the country here

Socialist candidate Nicky Downes opposes NHS patient fees

Socialist candidate Nicky Downes opposes NHS patient fees

Nicky with Lower Stoke TUSC candidate Rob McArdle

Nicky with Lower Stoke TUSC candidate Rob McArdle

Over the past few days our Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidates in Coventry have received dozens of emails through the 38 Degrees campaign regarding patients being charged for the use of the NHS and whether we would commit to keeping the NHS free at the point of use. Here is the response (slightly edited for publication) of Nicky Downes, TUSC candidate in Coventry North East.

‘Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with my campaign and good to hear from you again.

In answer to your question I am absolutely committed to keeping the NHS free at the point of use. For more background information I have added below a response taken from another enquiry regarding the NHS for more detail about the position of my party towards our health service.

Historically the NHS has been one of the most important gains made by working class people in Britain. We need a massive campaign to stop it being destroyed; which would leave workers in Britain facing the nightmare of a profit-driven US-style ‘Breaking Bad’ health service. If the Tories win the election they will accelerate the destruction of the NHS. Labour has said they will repeal the Tories Health and Social Care Act, but they have not pledged to reverse privatisation, much of which took place under Labour governments.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) campaigns for all the profiteers to be kicked out of the NHS. We demand an end to ‘ Profit From Illness’ (PFI) and for the massive debts it has created to be written off. We oppose all cuts, closures and job losses in the NHS.

We also go further, calling the expansion of the NHS with free and accessible dental care for all and the abolition of the prescription charges. We call for nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry, the pharmacy chains and medical supply industry and integrate them into a democratically controlled NHS.

We demand a minimum of at least £10 per hour and a 35-hour week for all health workers.

We also campaign for a democratic socialist society where poverty – the biggest killer and the greatest cause of ill-health – could become a problem of the past.’

Agree with Nicky? Please fill in the form below to get involved in our campaign!

NHS workers on strike

NHS workers on strike

Walsgrave Hospital Picket

Walsgrave Hospital Picket

NHS workers in six unions: Unison, Unite, GMB, Royal College of Midwives, Ucatt and BAOT went on strike for four hours this morning over pay, the first NHS national strike over pay for 30 years.  The government has reduced real terms pay by 20% for many public sector workers over the last four years. In actual fact many public sector workers have been effectively on a pay freeze for between six and eight years.

Socialist Party members were out supporting the pickets lines in Coventry this morning. Below are some photos from the pickets  at Walsgrave Hospital and the Walk-In Centre just outside of the City Centre.

Unite picket at the Coventry NHS walk-in centre this morning

Unite picket at the Coventry NHS walk-in centre this morning

Below is an article by an NHS worker in this weeks issue of the Socialist Newspaper…

Stop the cuts, scrap rip-off PFI privatisation schemes

Strike to save our NHS!

By an NHS worker

The National Health Service (NHS) is mired in a deep financial crisis and in a desperate attempt to highlight this a body of health professionals have written an open letter to the government.

A conservative estimate says the NHS shortfall amounts to a black hole of £30 billion but others put this figure closer to £50 billion.

We see desperate patients in pain and distress waiting for appointments for scans and treatment and when frontline staff complain to management we are fobbed off or told ‘you must do more work’.

We have seen our own pay frozen in the face of the increasing demands being put on us. Many more of us face being demoted and downbanded as fat cat private companies continue to leach off our NHS.

Privatisation

The Tory funding freeze, which they deceitfully call ‘ringfencing the NHS budget’, is one factor behind rising NHS debt.

However the introduction of Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) into the NHS and their rapid expansion by New Labour in the late 1990s created a financial time bomb which is now about to detonate.

When PFI was being rolled out the Labour party allowed consortia of building companies and financial houses to flood into the NHS to build and refurbish hospitals at extortionate rents, spanning 30 years. Several NHS trusts have gone bankrupt as result of PFI debt.

We are also seeing a rise in the privatisation of core health care services, and NHS trusts are paying huge sums to buy in services from private companies who offer less. On top of this there is the added financial burden of administering these contracts. The state of hospital meals post-privatisation is a warning. They are so dire that this issue has hit the headlines.

The privatisation of public services leads to rising costs, worse services and increased charges for patients. Hospital bosses are now talking of charging patients £75 a night for the ‘hotel costs’ of staying in a hospital. In the USA 62% of all bankruptcies are as a result of medical bills.

The NHS staff appeal to the Tories will fall on deaf ears. The Tories will carry on with their policy of freezing the NHS budget if they get re-elected.

The Labour party pledges £2 billion in ‘new money’ to the NHS but this is woefully inadequate considering the funding black hole. Whichever mainstream party gets elected the tranche of cuts and the damage wrought by the privatisation of services will continue.

Nurses and other NHS workers are demoralised and desperate. For the first time in over 30 years unionised health workers are coming out on strike over our pay on 13 October. Industrial action is the most effective measure we can take that will force this government to take the future of the NHS seriously.

Half a day’s action can be a starting point to escalating the industrial action in co-ordination with the other trade unionists in the public sector who provide essential services for our patients.

Our patients need us to step up and fight to prevent the total destruction of the NHS. If we can’t fight for ourselves let’s do it for them!