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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Mental health cause of most absence from work

Author: 

Simon Nelson

Analysis of over 12 million fit notes, the New Labour replacement for sick notes, has just been published. The results (relating to notes issued in 2016) are unsurprising but troubling. There was a 14% rise in notes relating to stress and anxiety and 31% were issued for mental health problems; these notes now account for the biggest proportion, overtaking numbers of notes issued for bad backs and other musculoskeletal conditions,

Many mental health conditions are difficult to overcome, for a variety of reasons. Poverty, class and inequality are also a factor.

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Bart's strikers name more dates

Author: 

Gemma Short

Serco-employed workers at Bart's Health NHS Trust will strike again on 18-22, 25-29 August, and 1-5, 8-12, and 15-19 September.

Workers have so far stuck for 22 days, including a two week strike from 25 July to 7 August, in their fight over low pay. Serco is still refusing to negotiate with the workers' union Unite.

They are demanding a 30p per hour increase, and for lower workloads.

Bart's strikers plan strikes throughout August and September.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Ollie Moore and Gemma Short

July has seen a number of interesting and potentially important developments in the ongoing dispute between rail unions and the Train Operating Companies (TOCs) and the government over Driver Only Operation (DOO).

DOO fight spreads; staff cuts put passengers at risk; reinstate the Picturehouse Four!; uncertainty at Forest Hill; Barts workers strike again.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Simon Marks, Ken Worthington, Ollie Moore, Simon Nelson and Gemma Short

A primary school in Sheffield is to become the first to get rid of all its teaching assistants. As part of a cost-cutting restructure, unions claim the school is planning on sacking its nine teaching assistants.

Sheefield primary scraps all teaching assistants; London hospital outsourced workers fight low pay; Kirkleees social workers strike; Durham teaching assistants reject deal; train drivers support guards’ strike; Tube workers strike for permanent jobs; defend the Picturehouse Four!; Mike Ashley drinks and vomits while workers suffer; teachers’ pay still frozen.

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Northern Ireland abortion win

Author: 

Rosalind Robson

To avoid defeat on a House of Commons vote, the government has said women from Northern Ireland will be able to get abortions on the NHS in England. Women are not able to get abortions in Northern Ireland except when there is a risk of death or serious damage to physical or mental health.

To avoid defeat on a House of Commons vote, the government has said women from Northern Ireland will be able to get abortions on the NHS in England.

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Save Lightburn Hospital!

Author: 

Ann Field

Fifty demonstrators protested outside of Lightburn Hospital in Glasgow on Saturday 17 June to re-launch a campaign to prevent its closure. Lightburn is the last in-patient hospital in Glasgow’s East End. It provides rehabilitative care for elderly people suffering from strokes, dementia, Parkinson’s or similar illnesses. Each year it admits around 450 patients, and deals with 400 new day cases and 3,000 return visits.

Lightburn is the last in-patient hospital in Glasgow’s East End.

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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: 

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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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