Four Thousand Say Scrap Parking Charges At Walsgrave Hospital!

Recently our campaign to scrap the parking charges at UHCW reached the incredible milestone of 4000 signatures!

For years we have been running stalls across Coventry with our petition, rallying ordinary people in Coventry of whom the vast, vast majority agree that parking at the hospital should be free.

And why shouldn’t it be? The point of the NHS is that it is free at point of use! Hundreds of billions of pounds goes into an incredible health service, and then we’re asked to pay up-front if we need to drive to hospital? With millions in poverty and counting pennies, many have to walk long distances, cut the time they spend with loved ones, or even avoid going to hospital at all because of the up-front costs. And that isn’t speculation; we know this is fact from the experiences we have heard directly from workers and residents in Coventry on our campaigning stalls.

In Wales and most of Scotland you wouldn’t have these horrendous and even heart-breaking situations. Because Wales scrapped its parking charges in 2018, and Scotland in 2008 with the exception of their PFI hospitals!

And there is precisely the problem.

The Private Finance Initiative gives a private company the contract to run the car park, and pretty much gives them control over the charges. So of course the private company wants to make however much it can, no matter how many families it keeps apart, how many personal budgets it breaks, how many it keep away from seeking treatment, and how many NHS staff -our heroes- are forced to look for another job so they can stop going to the foodbank!

And at Walsgrave the profits are astronomical.

Coventry Telegraph reported that the car parks across Cov and Warwickshire hospitals cost about £1m to run – but they make £8m from the charges! Every time you pay £8 for parking, £7 goes right into the pocket of a company. As many have said while signing on our stalls, it is disgusting!

That’s why our petition not only calls for the parking charges to be scrapped, but also for the car park to be taken off the private company that runs it for profit and put back into public ownership. The problem isn’t that one particular company runs the car park badly; the whole profit motive that drives the ruthless capitalist machine means that ANY private firm will rip off ordinary people to make as much money as possible. They aren’t accountable to us, only to their bosses and shareholders.

Which is why across the country, PFI deals are VERY expensive. LocalGov says “in January [2018] the National Audit Office reported that there were currently more than 700 PFI and PF2 deals with a capital value of around £60bn and annual charges amounting to £10.3bn in 2016-17. Even if no new deals are entered into, the NAO said, future charges which continue until the 2040s amount to £199bn.”

The PFI deal for UHCW itself is an atrocity. To quote Coventry Telegraph in 2019, “Despite the initial investments for Coventry’s NHS Trust being worth only £379 million, the trust will have paid back an estimated £3.7billion by the time the contracts are up – almost ten times the initial money.” The annual costs mean that an EIGHTH of UHCW’s entire budget goes to private profiteers who made their investment back years ago!

The Walsgrave Car Park PFI alone is harming so many people. That’s why in July last year we pledged to redouble our efforts, and now with over 4000 signatures we are going to keep up that fight!

Help us build that fight – join the socialists or find out more!

“I had to spend £350 to visit my dying husband” – Socialist Party campaigns against NHS cuts in Radford

“I had to spend £350 to visit my dying husband”

Socialist Party campaigns against NHS cuts in Radford

nhs-radford

Signing the petition against the PFI parking charges at Walsgrave

Members of the Socialist Party were out in Jubilee Crescent, Radford on Saturday morning for our regular campaigning activity highlighting the scandal of cuts in the NHS particularly focusing on the outrageous car parking charges at Walsgrave Hospital.

We had many people sign our petitions, with leaflets taken away highlighting the way forward in the battle to save the NHS.

Several of the people who supported our petition told us about the all to familiar experiences of the car parking rip off at the hospital.

One woman told us over an 11 week period she had to spend over £350 to visit her husband who sadly passed away. Another told us of how his wife had been hurt in a car accident and he had already spent £110 to visit her.

As the result of years of the Socialist Party campaigning on this issue, many are already aware that the car parking charges are the symptom not the disease – that it is all linked to the Private Finance Initiatives (PFI) involved in the NHS.

Our leaflet stated

‘Kick out NHS profiteers! We need to kick the fat cats out of the NHS. The NHS is being privatised bit by bit. Services have gone to private firms across the country and the consequences are already being seen. Services have worsened and are costing more as companies cream off a profit.

The Socialist Party calls for a comprehensive, high-quality NHS, under democratic control with free care at the point of use’

That is why we are supporting the national demonstration on Saturday 4th March, 2017 to defend our NHS (more details to come)

We also had many conversations about the cuts to council services – where unfortunately the Labour Council, rather than providing resistance to Tory austerity is actually closing our libraries, children’s centres and youth clubs.

Thank you to all who signed our petitions, took leaflets away, bought our newspaper The Socialist or donated to help keep our anti-austerity campaigns going.