ON FRIDAY the GMB trade union declared that ‘Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt must resign,’ and warned that that the ‘NHS is tailspinning into catastrophe.’
The GMB treated the NHS crisis as if Health Secretary Hunt had the sole responsibility for it. The GMB said: ‘Everyone apart from the Health Secretary seemed to see this crisis coming a mile off – it repeats the pattern of previous years.
‘In winter it is cold, people get flu, have accidents, illnesses and require treatment. That is well known. However, because the government has starved the NHS of resources, a foreseen event, which should have been planned for, has become a crisis. Asking already stressed and overworked staff to undertake more shifts, as some have done, will lead to more staff having to report sick though exhaustion and stress.’
It added: ‘Theresa May apologised for the mess in the NHS, but unless she orders the Chancellor to devote more money to our health service that apology will have a very hollow ring for the people of Britain. Meanwhile, her Health Secretary is clearly not up to the job, and must step down before the NHS crisis tailspins into catastrophe.’ Get rid of Hunt and its all OK!
The GMB leaders must be the only people in the country who think that Hunt is solely responsible for the NHS crisis and that May could well sack him and provide more money for the NHS. In fact Hunt is her star performer to the point that she wants to promote him to become Deputy Prime Minister, if not tomorrow, then in the spring so that he can play a leading part in the government’s all round attack on the working class.
Hunt in savaging the junior doctors and pushing STP privatisation plans, is carrying out government policy to the letter, as is his current policy of linking any above 1% NHS pay rise to the abolition of Agenda for Change job protection measures.
The GMB instead of wasting time making appeals to May, should be taking the lead in organising a general strike to bring this government down and replace it with a workers government. Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, yesterday condemned the Tory government over the crisis that grips the NHS.
He told Andrew Marr: ‘Yes, this crisis of this magnitude was entirely predictable and indeed entirely preventable. Remember, Andrew, we’re now in the eighth year of tight austerity on NHS finances. We’ve seen community health services cut back, we’ve seen a reduction in district nurses, we’ve seen a reduction of around 14,000 beds.
‘In many community health services, because they’ve been privatised, money is actually going to private companies, not the front line. And we’ve seen savage, deeply savage cuts to our social care sector, which means many elderly people not getting the support they deserve.’
Again there was no call for the government to go at once despite the fact that both the Health Secretary Hunt and PM May have both apologised for the depth of this winter’s NHS crisis. In fact he had no answer when Marr pointed out ‘looking at the IFS assessment of your manifesto, and the grey book, so-called, and what the Tories have offered, there’s only a nought point eight per cent difference. Nought point eight per cent difference in what you’d put in. You’d have a two per cent increase, they’d have a one point two per cent increase. It’s hardly a transformational difference.’
May for her part told Marr: ‘The NHS has actually been better prepared for this winter’s pressures than it has been before. The – you mentioned operations being postponed. That was part of the plan. Of course we want to ensure that those operations can be reinstated as soon as possible, but it’s about making sure that those who most urgently need care are able to get that treatment when they need it.’
Marr responded: ‘But given what’s happened you have apologised. What have you said sorry for?’ Since it was all part of the plan, in fact there was no meaningful apology. The issue of the hour is that the trade unions by their refusal to call general strike action to bring the government down and bring in a workers government are in fact keeping the minority and completely demoralised May government in office.
The millions of union members must rise up and tell their leaders that they will be removed if they do not call general strike action!