LARGE-scale hospital cuts and closures are now being organised for immediately after the next general election.
These cuts have been dictated by the current enormously indebted state of British capitalism. Britain is heading for a £200bn plus budget deficit for this year, and a national debt approaching £1 trillion.
To maintain capitalism requires the destruction of the Welfare State, including the NHS.
What the working class is about to receive from the bosses and their political representatives is the colossal bill for keeping capitalism going.
In the London area, a North Central London Service Organisation was set up last March covering Barnet, Enfield, Haringey, Camden and Islington.
It is now becoming public knowledge that North London will be facing a ‘gap in funding’ of £500m. The District General Hospitals that are set to be shut down in this North London massacre include Barnet, Chase Farm, and the Whittington, leaving a million people without a major acute hospital within life saving distance.
The number of patients treated at the Royal Free and Whittington will be almost halved under proposals for a ‘merger’ of the two hospitals. Patient numbers are to be slashed from 950,000 to 500,000 a year.
The reality is that Whittington is to be closed and many hundreds of staff are to be made redundant and up to 250,000 patients deprived of access to acute care.
In fact, London has been divided into six acute commissioning sectors by the Strategic Health Authority for London, called NHS London.
NHS London produced a document in June, based on an analysis by McKinsey.
In it, they estimated that around £5bn must be cut from London’s NHS budget over the next five years, and that London’s acute hospitals face a drop of up to 72 per cent in their workload and a 42 per cent cut in their annual income by 2016-17.
The NHS in England has to make savings of £20bn by 2014. NHS London has told organisations in the capital that the slump means hospitals must prepare for even greater changes to services than they had planned. District General Hospitals are to be closed and care ‘shifted’ out of hospitals and into GP practices and polyclinics, to the point where hospital beds will be cut by a third.
NHS London warns that if acute trusts do not rapidly start to rationalise their fixed overheads and estates they will be left with annual unfunded costs of up to £3.4bn – equivalent to more than 60 per cent of their projected income of £5.5bn a year. They are bankrupting the NHS!
The report spells out the size of the financial threat to the capital’s hospitals by the Healthcare for London plan. This involves increasing the amount of care delivered through ‘polysystems’ of joined up GP practices and health centres, with acute and trauma care centralised at a few selected acute hospitals.
From April 2010, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will gain new powers to be able to shut any ‘underachieving’ trusts. Once a hospital has failed registration, it can be closed.
The essence of the situation that faces workers is, because capitalism has collapsed and the various governing parties refuse to bury it, we are going to be deprived of our NHS care, which has saved the lives of tens of millions of people since it was established in 1948, so that the NHS budget can be used to pay the bankers’ debts. A novel approach. The poor are being robbed to keep the rich, rich!
Only slaves will agree to do this and workers are not slaves. Plans must be made in all areas to mobilise everybody to defend the NHS by occupying all hospitals that are put on the closure list.
Councils of Action must be formed to support the occupations by organising a general strike to bring the government down, and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers to bring in a socialist planned economy where the NHS will be the jewel in the crown.