NHS and health

Editorials - March 1995

Editorial comments on the ongoing influence of Stalinism in the British labour movement, the need for a campaign to defend the welfare state, and calling for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

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Marxist Theory and History: 

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Labour: rebuild the welfare state

Author: 

Gemma Short

The welfare state created by the 1945 Labour government was a little bit of the “political economy of the working class” carved out of a still capitalist economy (a phrase Karl Marx first used to describe the victory of the fight for a ten-hour working day).

To some extent the ruling class has been forced to accept a minimal level of state provision. There is a constant battle over what proportion of profits is redirected, over who should receive support, and what sort of support is given. The ruling class has been winning that battle for some time.

The Labour manifesto is a significant shift from decades of neo-liberal consensus where the “political economy of the ruling class”, the rule of the market in every aspect of our lives, has almost destroyed the “political economy of the working class” carved out of capitalism in the shape of the welfare state.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

Trade Unions: 

NHS cyber attack could have been thwarted

Author: 

Claudia Raven

This week a cyber attack affected hospitals across the NHS. My hospital, which is largely paperless, told staff to turn off Windows XP computers as a precaution. Across the country, care was delayed, some minor operations were cancelled, patient data was rendered unavailable and appointments postponed.

The NHS has been at risk of cyber attack for years.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Gemma Short, Charlotte Zalens and Peggy Carter

Staff at Manchester Metropolitan University will strike against job cuts on 24 and 25 May, against a backdrop of hundreds of jobs at risk across the sector. Manchester University is planning to cut 171 jobs; up to 150 are at risk at Aberystwyth; 139 at the University of Wales Trinity St David; Sunderland, Durham and Plymouth are all looking for voluntary redundancies.

Universities start cutting jobs; LSE cleaners fight back; Fujitsu workers fight 1,800 job losses; stop job cuts at EHRC; nurses may ballot for strikes.

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Around the world: 

Trade Unions: 

How to think beyond and survive the exam season

Author: 

Daisy Thomas

A report on 2 May from the Health and Education Committee of MPs found that government cuts are pushing many schools to scrap or limit mental health help in schools. Daisy Thomas explains why that help is important.

There are a range of mindfulness resources for adults and young people which can start to change the way that mental health is approached, especially in schools.

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Tories seek mandate to increase cuts, inequality, poverty

Author: 

Martin Thomas

“Mrs May”, writes the Tory-leaning columnist of the Financial Times, Janan Ganesh, “could not survive an election campaign saying so little so often if people paid attention”. Since so many don’t, “the repetition of slogans in lieu of answers carries no cost”. Fraser Nelson, another Tory, comments in the Spectator: “She seems to think that, if you refuse to give the press anything, the public won’t care. Worse, she seems to be right – for now, at least”. May’s purpose, so Nelson writes, is not to “seek a mandate”, but to evade one.

The Daily Mail front page headline on 19 April summed up how Theresa May sees the election serving her Brexit drive: “Crush the saboteurs”. That is, strengthen her position against all who ask questions, raise criticisms, demand information.

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Around the world: 

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Patients not passports

Author: 

Gerry Bates

Since April 2017 NHS Trusts have been obliged to check patients’ ID, with a view to determining their immigration status, before giving them treatment. Since 2014 certain migrants — those who do not have indefinite leave to remain or are not here on a temporary or student visa — have to pay 150% charges for secondary care.

Government policies against “health tourism” encourage racial profiling and discrimination.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore, Janine Booth, Peggy Carter and Gemma Short

National Union of Teachers (NUT) members at Forest Hill School in Lewisham will strike again on 20, 25 and 26 April in their campaign against vicious cuts being imposed by management to fulfil conditions of repayment of loan to Lewisham council. There is a demonstration on Saturday 22 April.

The proposed restructure at the school is in response to a £1.3m deficit. Lewisham council has given the school a “loan” however they are demanding that the school cuts £800,000 from their wage bill.

Forest Hill strikes again; reinstate Lee Cornell!; Night Tube win; RCN to ballot nurses over pay; RMT holds first disabled members conference; train strikes disrupt Grand National; six cinemas on strike; cleaners’ wild-cat strike.

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Young people and mental health – a political issue

Author: 

Joe Booth

Statistics show that help for young people with mental health issues is dramatically decreasing. A 2016 investigation by the Guardian and 38 Degrees showed that trusts around England were “drawing up plans for hospital closures and cutbacks” in an attempt to avoid a £20 billion shortfall by 2020. This means that young people aren’t getting the help they need or deserve.

More than 850,000 children and young people in the UK have been diagnosed with a mental health condition.

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Stop giving money to private health providers

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

The crisis in the NHS cannot be solved by increasing funding alone. Some funding needs to be reallocated. According to research by the Health Foundation, half of last year’s nearly £2 billion government cash injection for the NHS was given to private providers. That practice has to end!

£1 out of every £8 of the budgets allocated by local health commissioners in England is now spent on care provided by private providers.

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