Socialists condemn latest hike in hospital parking charges

Socialists condemn latest hike in hospital parking charges

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Defend the NHS

For the second time in less than a year hospital bosses have decided to increase parking charges at University Hospital in Coventry. The car park is operated by private company ISS, as part of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. These charges are paid by patients and hard-working NHS staff – what PFI really means is Profit From Illness!

The Coventry Telegraph has previously revealed that between 2011 and 2017 the local NHS trust paid over £6 MILLION in subsidies for the car park to ISS – and ISS refused to reveal how much profit they made from the contract. Public money shouldn’t be given to private profiteers – PFI contracts should be ended immediately!

Thousands of people have already signed a petition organised by Coventry Socialist Party and NHS SOS against these outrageous charges.

We say

  • No to PFI car parking charges
  • Time to scrap PFI – no more Profit From Illness
  • The NHS should be brought completely back in to public ownership, under the democratic control of NHS workers, patients and the communities that it serves
  • Get rid of capitalism – the root cause of all attacks on our healthcare system

Coventry Socialists campaign to defend the NHS as Red Cross warns of ‘humanitarian crisis’

Coventry Socialists campaign to defend the NHS as Red Cross warns of ‘humanitarian crisis’

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Campaigning to defend the NHS

Coventry Socialist Party were out on the streets for the first time in 2017, campaigning to defend the NHS against cuts and privatisation as the Red Cross warned of a ‘humanitarian crisis’ in our health service.

Once again people who stopped at our campaign stall talked about the pressure the NHS is under, and many told us about how angry they were with the car parking costs at Walsgrave with one woman explaining that she faced a £50 fine because she hadn’t been able to afford to pay the charges when visiting a relative.

The NHS is at breaking point and according to a report in the ‘i’ newspaper “overflowing A&E departments shut their doors to patients more than 140 times in December and the NHS comes under increasing pressure.”

The current situation makes the national demonstration in London on 4th March even more important; there will be transport from Coventry so make sure you are on it! Fill in the form below to book your place or for more information.

The Tories are trying to take away our NHS and open it up further for private companies to profit from illness. We need to stop them!

£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!

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!”

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

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!

Scrap Parking Charges at Walsgrave Hospital!

Scrap Parking Charges at Walsgrave Hospital!

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Parking charges at Walsgrave Hospital have been increased again, despite thousands of people signing a petition calling for them to be scrapped.

This means it will now cost £2.30 to park for just an hour, while stays of 7 hours or over will be a massive £8.50!

The charges were brought in as a result of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI), which was brought in by Labour and was the first step towards the attempted privatisation of the NHS which is now being pushed by the ConDem Government. The charges had previously been reduced in 2011 as a result of a mass campaign led by the Socialist Party.

Rob McArdle, the prospective Socialist candidate for Lower Stoke, said “Socialists in Coventry have fought many years against NHS parking charges. We call for all PFI to be scrapped, millions of pounds of taxpayers money is being wasted on these projects. This diverts money away from our NHS and results in a poorer service for patients. We call for a properly funded PUBLIC NHS, end PFI now!”

For free parking at Walsgrave – kick PFI and privatisation out of the NHS!