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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How I got my job back

Charlotte Monro, a union activist, was sacked more than 18 months ago by Bart's Trust after working at Whipps Cross Hospital for more than 25 years. She spoke to Jill Mountford about her battle for reinstatement.


I spoke at a local council overview and scrutiny committee about planned cuts to our stroke service in the hospital. That seems to have triggered the action against me.

It started within six days. A key allegation was that I brought the trust into disrepute by providing inaccurate information to OSC, though they could not tell me what it was that was inaccurate.

Charlotte Monro, a union activist, was sacked more than 18 months ago by Bart's Trust after working at Whipps Cross Hospital for more than 25 years. She spoke to Jill Mountford about her battle for reinstatement.

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Demand more from Labour!

Author: 

Jill Mountford

Around 200 campaigners attended the 999 NHS Convention on Saturday 11 April in London to discuss building a united movement in defence of the NHS.

The organisers, GMB non-elected officers, are committed NHS campaigners who see a need to unite the vast though somewhat disparate movement of activists and campaigners around the country.

Around 200 campaigners attended the 999 NHS Convention on Saturday 11 April in London to discuss building a united movement in defence of the NHS.

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The AWL, Labour and the Left: 

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Whipps Cross: PFI leads to hospital crisis

Author: 

Rosalind Robson

Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone has been rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), and the whole of Barts NHS Trust which runs the hospital has been placed in special measures. The CQC say patient safety has been seriously compromised.

But the CQC failed to identify the background to the hospital’s difficulties — cuts in staff and the serious financial problems facing Barts NHS Trust, as the result of debts incurred under PFI contracts.

PFI schemes drain the NHS of valuable resources and put them in the pockets of wealthy investors.

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Reimagine the NHS!

The recent damning report by the King’s Fund “think tank” into NHS reforms, and the news that NHS providers have voted against the NHS watch-dog Monitor’s tariff for NHS services, show growing dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the NHS.

We must remove the healthcare market and re-imagine a National Health Service based on social solidarity fit for today’s health needs. Those currently entrusted with managing the NHS are not up to the task.

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NHS: don't let them scrap our terms

The current government has been attempting to find a way to undermine the Agenda for Change national pay agreement for the NHS for some time.

Agenda for Change is a broad agreement that covers practically all terms and conditions for NHS workers, including basic rates of pay, extra pay for working “unsociable” hours, annual increments on pay scales, annual leave etc.

Originally the top of the pay scales were agreed to be the rate for the job, but initially new starters would be paid less because there was an element of learning in the post.

By fighting to keep their terms and conditions, NHS staff are not only defending their standard of living, but also fighting against privatisation and the dismantling of the NHS.

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Industrial news in brief

Author: 

Peggy Carter, Gemma Short and Charlotte Zalens

On Tuesday the 13 January the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) branch of the PCS union voted by an overwhelming majority to call strikes over pay.

The ICO has been lagging behind civil service pay for some time, with members’ salaries a grade behind what the rest of the civil service receive.

Information Commissioner’s Office staff vote to strike over pay; Woolwich hospital workers continue dispute; Lewisham teachers' ballot against Academies; NUT DGS result; Lambeth College deal; No to outsourcing at National Gallery.

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NHS pay: what's been gained?

Author: 

Charlotte Zalens

As Solidarity went to press on 27 January, news of a deal on NHS pay had just been announced.

Unison, Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives have all confirmed they have suspended strikes planned for Thursday 29 January to consult members on an offer from the government.

A GMB official said the offer included “the implementation of the 1% pay rise for all NHS staff from April 2015 plus some further improvements for the lowest paid NHS staff.”

The details are unclear. However initial publicity suggested that it includes:

It is clear to all that the problems within the National Health Service go much deeper than insufficient pay.

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Tax the rich to save the Health Service!

Author: 

Sacha Ismail

Spurred by waiting times in Accident & Emergency departments which are the worst since records began in 2004, the Tories have promised an extra £2 billion a year above inflation for the health service.

Labour says it will go £2.5 billion a year above that (funded by a mansion tax, a levy on tobacco companies and closing tax loopholes). Both are completely inadequate

NHS boss Simon Stevens says that the NHS will need at least £8 billion a year above inflation even with dramatic “efficiency savings” – by which he means attacks on NHS workers.

The labour movement must demand a thoroughgoing reversal of marketisation and privatisation, and adequate funding to rebuild the NHS as a comprehensive public service.

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Hartlepool hospital protest

Author: 

Alan Theasby

Hartlepool, a small once-industrial town in the North East, saw a massive demo on Saturday 10 January.
The local hospital faces closure and people are angry about it.


Sue Little has no experience of campaigning, but she was determined to kick up a fuss and organised a demo for 10 January. On the day, about 700 people marched four miles in blustery weather chanting "Save our hospital", "No ifs no buts no NHS cuts", and "NHS not for sale".

Sue Little is now organising regular "pickets" of the hospital.

Local hospital faces closure

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