Unions act now against NHS cuts

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A HUGE contract for health services, including end-of-life care in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, is being put out to tender with privateers such as Virgin Care, Circle and Serco eager to grab the £1.1bn contract.

Andy Burnham, the shadow health secretary, commented: ‘The scale and pace of NHS privatisation is ramping up.

‘The BMA remains concerned that large non-NHS providers, such as those organisations apparently interested in the older people’s care contract in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, could have an unfair advantage during the tendering process over smaller, less well-resourced competitors, especially those from the NHS,’ commented Dr Mark Porter, the chairman of the BMA council.

Meanwhile, the BMA has condemned the call that GPs should charge patients for consultations!

‘Charging patients to visit their GPs would be a damaging and backward step which would undermine the very principles on which the NHS was founded’ said Doctor Nagpaul, the chair of the BMA GPs Committee.

GP charges are one of the ‘brainwaves’ of the Tory LibDem coalition to deter patients from seeking NHS care. First of all they intend to close down large numbers of A&Es to stop people going to them, and then they plan to bring in GP charges to make any NHS care unaffordable for the poor!

Charges of all kinds are to be introduced regardless of denials that are being made.

GPs are extremely angry that plans have been made to turn them into an adjunct of the Border Controls mechanism – they are about to be forced to carry out immigration checks on patients to flush out illegals!

Ministers have already announced that foreigners will pay a £200 levy for NHS care. The Department of Health has made clear that GPs and all frontline NHS staff will have to identify and charge foreigners for treatment, and presumably report illegals to the police.

Foreigners from outside the European Union applying for visas lasting more than six months, who are currently entitled to free treatment, will have to pay the new ‘health care levy’.

Short-term visitors will also face charges for their treatment. The Department of health document says that clinicians ‘are often well placed to identify visitors who are chargeable’.

It states: ‘Staff across the system will clearly have a role in identifying chargeable patients, but the rules and systems should be as straightforward as possible.’ It adds ‘Clinicians are not expected to take on the role of immigration officials.’ However the opposite is the case. They will have to be sure of a patient’s immigration status before they are given free treatment.

Already, NHS contracts are starting to go to the private sector, swathes of A&Es are to be closed, and illegals are to be charged by doctors for treatment, with this being the thin end of the wedge for introducing GP charges for all!

The response of the union leaders to this situation has been hot air. ‘The increasing pressure on A&E departments can be traced right back to this government,’ said Unison Head of Health Christina McAnea on 24 July ‘. . . People have a right to expect that the money they pay in taxes is used to fund well-staffed, efficient A&E departments and hospitals.’

She added: ‘It is clear that staff in A&E departments are being put under intolerable pressure. Government cuts are having a devastating impact on the whole of the NHS and no area is immune from the impact. . .

‘The government should stop shedding crocodile tears over the NHS. It is time they recognised that their own policies are adding to the problems and they must give the NHS the resources it needs to get on with the job.’

However, the government is never going to give the NHS the resources it needs. It is consciously destroying the NHS. The trade unions must stop talking and start fighting. What is required to defend the NHS is a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government and socialism! Leaders who refuse to fight must be made to resign and be replaced.