DOCTOR Peter Carter, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), has admitted that despite every attempt to co-operate with the coalition government, the RCN has been completely unable to secure even the slightest concession over the Health and Social Care Bill, the bill that flings open the door to the privatisation and destruction of the NHS as a free-at-the-point-of-delivery health service.
Carter said yesterday: ‘Sadly, the RCN now finds that we must move to a position of outright opposition to the bill.’
The RCN now joins the Royal College of Midwives and the British Medical Association in being forced to recognise the complete intransigence of the Tory-led coalition in its drive to smash up the NHS and transform its huge budget into a slush fund for the banks, making health a cash-cow for the private medicine vultures.
All attempts to win concessions through friendly co-operation have fallen flat on their face.
Now every health care union has been forced to acknowledge that it is not possible to change the mind of this government, and that the bill cannot be made a bit more humane through negotiations.
To show the absolute determination of the government to turn the NHS into a fully privatised financial institution, it was revealed yesterday that the NHS regulator (Monitor), set up to push through privatisation, is proposing that credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, be employed to vet hospitals and give ‘a clear indication of the financial strength of the healthcare provider and the perceived capabilities of its board and executive team’.
These credit rating agencies have bankrupted whole countries and are now to be employed to close down the NHS! By even allowing such a proposal to see the light of day, the coalition, with the bankers and bosses behind it, are showing their arrogance and absolute contempt for the working class.
Should these agencies assess any hospital as ‘failing’ to achieve an ‘investment-grade rating’, that is if it does not make a profit, it will have its licence to operate in the NHS taken away, and be closed or handed over to the private sector.
Yesterday, Unison welcomed the decisions of the RCN and the RCM to completely oppose the bill and seek its withdrawal saying that this has been Unison policy for some time.
Unite has the same position that the Health Bill and healthcare are opposites.
With all health service unions now calling for the bill to be scrapped, the issue is organising to take action to see that this happens and that the coalition is scrapped with its bill.
Unite and Unison are giant trade unions, with many NHS members, but with several million members who work throughout industry, and rely upon the NHS.
They will agree that, when the NHS Regulator is urging that ratings agencies should be allowed to decide whether hospitals are allowed to continue or closed, we have reached the stage of ‘enough is enough’.
There must be action!
There must be an immediate meeting of all TUC and and non-TUC trade unions that have members in the NHS to discuss and organise a campaign of industrial action to defend the NHS, leading to an indefinite general strike to bring the coalition down and bring in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bankers and bosses and bring in socialism and a planned socialist economy, putting an end to casino capitalism.
This is the only programme of action that matches the severity of the crisis.
The NHS and the Welfare State must be defended and developed – it is capitalism that must go and the sooner the better!
The Milibands of this world, who argue that there is some ‘responsible’ or ‘moral’ capitalism that can be achieved to replace the ‘law of the jungle’, are just selling political dope.
There is only one kind of capitalism and that is the system of super-exploitation of the working class that enriches the few, pauperises the many and destroys everything in its path.
This backward society deserves to perish, and must be replaced with socialism.