|The News Line: Editorial
Wednesday, 20 June 2012
NHS ALREADY BEING CUT AND CLOSED
THAT the Health and Social Care Act is all about privatising the NHS and handing it over to the private sector via the new commissioning bodies is well known.
Although the Act has only just been passed, its actual essence, the commissioning bodies, have been up and running for some time, making their preparations to hand over tens of billions of the NHS budget to the rapacious private sector.
Preparations are being made to shut down scores of District General Hospitals.
A glossy booklet fixing the date for the closure of Chase Farm hospital, stating that the closure date in Autumn 2013 could well be brought forward is now in circulation.
It explains that the A&E Department and the consultant-led obstetric and neonatal services (doctor-led maternity and newborn babies) will be moved to the already overloaded Barnet and North Middlesex hospitals, and be replaced by out-patient departments and a day time urgent care centre.
Chase Farm, as a District General Hospital, is to be turned into rubble so that the land can be sold off for private profits.
This scenario is taking place all over the NHS. Hospitals are being closed and services are being deliberately liquidated with the cancelations of tens of thousands of operations.
GP magazine has shown that 90% of trusts are imposing restrictions on operations.
In two-thirds of 151 trusts the most common restriction was on tonsillectomies, with 89% of areas rationing the availability of this procedure.
Rationing is to save money. A cataract operation on one eye costs the NHS about £900. A hip replacement sets the service back more than £5,000.
Some areas are delaying referring patients for these type of treatments. Limits on cataract surgery were in place in 66% of trusts, while more than half of trusts were rationing weight-loss surgery and hip and knee operations.
These cuts are taking place because the NHS is being forced to make £20bn of cuts. However senior government figures have warned that total savings of £50bn may need to be found by 2019-20.
That such cuts will mean the demolition of the NHS and the privatisation of its remnants is obvious.
This is why GPs are angry that their BMA leaders did not carry out a public campaign to stop the Health and Social Care Bill becoming law.
They are determined to stop the same betrayal happening over their pensions. This is why they voted by a massive majority to take strike action on June 21.
At the BMA conference starting next Monday many delegates will be very critical of their leaders for betraying the struggle to smash the Health Bill. They will be demanding that at their June 28th Council meeting the BMA leaders decide on more strike action against NHS privatisation and in defence of their pensions.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is already advising its members not to do anything to undermine the strike action by doctors tomorrow, stating: ‘This is legitimate action by our BMA medical colleagues and we respect their decision. We are advising our members to work as normal but not to undertake work that would undermine the BMA action.’
The resistance of the BMA membership to the Tory-led coalition must be the rallying point for the whole of the trade union movement. Members of all unions should go to their local hospitals on Thursday to show their support for the doctors.
When more action is called on the 28th all unions should join in the strike action to turn it into a 24 hour general strike to defend the NHS and to defend all workers’ pensions.
There is only one way that this can be done. This is by bringing down the coalition and bringing in a workers government and socialism.
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