BMA has shown the way – now all trade unions must take action to defend the NHS


ON Monday, the BMA conference (ARM) passed unanimously a vote of No Confidence in the Tory-led coalition’s Health Secretary, Hunt, and also called for the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act (under which the NHS is being privatised) and ‘for a coordinated campaign to achieve that aim.’

The doctor who moved the motion, at a meeting that evening, declared: ‘We have to fight. If we have to go out onto the streets, occupy hospitals, then that’s what we have to do.’

Well done the BMA ARM, it has given a lead that the rest of the trade union movement must follow.

There has to be a struggle to defend the NHS. There is no point in even considering waiting around for a general election and hoping that a Labour government will emerge out of it that will provide a solution to the crisis of the NHS in the interests of the working class.

Miliband, Balls and Labour’s shadow Health Secretary, Burnham, have already made it perfectly clear that they will keep all of the Tory cuts, and will add new cuts to them, as they are required to save the bankrupt capitalist system from its crisis.

Indeed, Burnham, who aided the privatisation of the NHS when he was the Labour Health Secretary, has said on more than one occasion that the battle to defend the NHS is lost and it is being irretrievably privatised.

He is making it perfectly clear that Miliband intends to preside over a privatised health market, that sells health care for profit and no longer provides free care at the point of need.

The NHS does not need a Miliband government, it needs a workers government and socialism.

From the BMA’s conference the struggle must be launched for the BMA and all trade unions to organise occupations of hospitals that are threatened with closure, and to mobilise entire communities to keep them open, in defiance of the state.

These immediate actions will prepare the ground for the calling, by the TUC, of an indefinite general strike to bring down the reactionary Tory-LibDem coalition and replace it with a workers government that will defend and develop the NHS as part of a socialist planned economy.

This is the only way forward, and the BMA ARM has delivered a powerful blow in its favour, with its condemnation of the Health Secretary and its determination to smash the Health and Social Care Act.

Last Saturday, the major trade unions and some trade union leaders participated in a Westminster Hall Assembly rally where, amidst the talks of protests, civil disobedience, legal actions and strikes to defend the Welfare State, the trade union bureaucrats present, including Serwotka and McCluskey, neglected to pledge that they will be moving a resolution at the TUC General Council that it calls a general strike to bring down the coalition.

They are, in fact, opposed to bringing down the coalition with an indefinite general strike.

Instead, along with a lot of left talk, they are planning to march to the Tory Party conference, an absolutely pointless exercise since it only listens to the bosses and the bankers.

It turns out that the policy of the trade union bureaucracy is to engage in left talk, urge the communities to take action, make some noises about strikes, but subordinate everything to working for a Labour victory at the next general election.

Calling an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition is not part of this bankrupt parliamentary perspective – to replace the coalition with a Labour government whose leaders already believe that that the NHS is privatised beyond repair and is lost.

Once again, the BMA ARM has given the lead, with its No Confidence in Hunt and its call for action to gain the repeal of the Health and Social Care Act. Now all trade unions must follow the BMA lead.

We don’t need marches to the Tory Party conference and a new Miliband-Balls-led Labour government that will be as Tory as the Tories.

We need the trade unions to give the lead in occupying threatened hospitals to keep them open, and then to call a general strike to bring down the coalition and bring in a workers government and socialism.

This the way forward.