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 Video
Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV

26/03/2015: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

  Britain, Video

Norway
Lessons of the pilots’ strike

25/03/2015: A struggle against outsourcing

  Norway

Israel
Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election

25/03/2015: New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

  Israel / Palestine

China
Demand release of arrested women activists

24/03/2015: Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

  China

Italy
The instability of domestic capitalism

24/03/2015: Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

  Italy

Sweden
Central bank rates cut "panic measure"

23/03/2015: Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

  Sweden

Greece
Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer

23/03/2015: Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

  Greece

Tunisia
Twenty three killed in terrorist attack

20/03/2015: Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

  Tunisia

Belgium
No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity

20/03/2015: New action plan against right wing government takes off

  Belgium

Ukraine
Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement

18/03/2015: Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

  Ukraine

Ireland North
Public sector workers strike against austerity

18/03/2015: For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

  Ireland North

 North Cyprus
New strike wave against cuts

17/03/2015: Workers determined to stop austerity

  Cyprus, Solidarity

 Brazil
Urgent solidarity protests needed

17/03/2015: Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

  Brazil, Solidarity

 Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity

16/03/2015: Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

  CWI, Scotland

Britain
What lies behind UKIP?

14/03/2015: Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

  Britain

Ireland North
Massive public sector strike against austerity

13/03/2015: Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Ireland South
Marriage equality referendum set for May

12/03/2015: Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

  Ireland Republic

Ireland North
Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike

11/03/2015: Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Iran
Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage

11/03/2015: Increasing demands for a living wage

  Iran

Ireland North
13 March public sector strike against austerity

10/03/2015: Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

  Ireland North

  Video
Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day

10/03/2015: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015

09/03/2015: Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

  Women

Greece
Syriza’s first months in power

07/03/2015: The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

  Greece

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

05/03/2015: For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

05/03/2015: Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

  Austria, Venezuela

 Greece
Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

04/03/2015: “None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

  Greece, Solidarity

Russia
50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov

03/03/2015: As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

  Russia

Quebec
Towards a hot spring

02/03/2015: Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

  Quebec

Greece
“Yes there was a different choice!”

02/03/2015: Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

  Germany, Greece

Scotland
Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May

27/02/2015: Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

  Scotland

Greece showdown

26/02/2015: Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

  Greece

Libya
War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities

25/02/2015: Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

  Libya

Europe
Eurozone time-bomb

25/02/2015: Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

  Europe, World Economy

Greece
Syriza retreats under Troika threats

24/02/2015: Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

  Greece

Britain
Labour MP shows contempt for workers

24/02/2015: Three decades ago he debated with Militant leaders who warned about degeneration of his party

  Britain

Britain

Con-Dem government propose denationalisation of NHS

www.socialistworld.net, 26/07/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

For trade union led mass campaign to stop destruction of Health Service!

From The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Using the cover of ‘saving’ money by reducing ‘bureaucracy’, the Conservative/Liberal Democrats (‘Con-Dem’) coalition government is effectively proposing the wholesale privatisation of the National Health Service (NHS). In doing so, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg aim to finish what Margaret Thatcher started in the 1980s and Labour enthusiastically continued.

Andrew Lansley, the new Tory health minister, has set out his government’s plans to reduce the NHS to dust. Far from the stated aim of cutting bureaucracy and saving money, these plans are predicted to cost £1.7 billion to implement. Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, summed up the proposals: “From a major public service with a million employees, [the NHS] will have become a central fund with a minimal workforce, commissioning services from a string of private companies in a fully-fledged health care market.”

The NHS is due to be turned completely on its head and there is no doubt that chaos will follow. If Andrew Lansley succeeds in getting his legislation passed the NHS logo will be all that remains to be misused by a multitude of new health care providers.

Private companies that specialise in ‘out-sourcing’ of public services, such as Capita, Serco and many others, are lining up to take advantage of the huge profits they can make by the ‘denationalisation’ of the NHS. Richard Marchant, one of the heads at Capita, openly stated that the ‘problems’ in the public sector represent a ‘significant opportunity’ for his company.

The White Paper

Can it be managed by the ‘third sector’? Can it be cut? Can it be privatised? These are the three questions the new Con-Dem government is asking about the NHS.

The White Paper calls for more and more NHS services (including those which directly provide patient care) to be tendered out to ‘any willing provider’. Private companies will be lining up for their golden opportunity to take their pick of the most lucrative NHS services.

Profit maximisation in the NHS will have a profoundly damaging impact on a service, which was designed to have the needs of the patient at the heart of its core philosophy. Lansley is explicit about his desire to “create the largest social enterprise sector in the world”.

The idea of the ‘internal market’ was first introduced into the NHS by Thatcher in the 1980s and it was carried on with zeal by Tony Blair’s New Labour administration. One aspect of the market policy is that various NHS services get ‘split off’ into separate components and they are then tendered out to companies like Serco.

This process has happened wholesale in all NHS cleaning and catering services and it is happening increasingly with phlebotomy (blood taking) services. We have all borne witness to the damage inflicted on the NHS via PFI (private finance initiatives) which basically gave construction companies carte blanche to lock NHS trusts into long term, hugely expensive contracts for building new hospitals. NHS trusts ended up in massive amounts of debt as public funds were effectively diverted into the pockets of company shareholders.

The GMB union has identified around 640 current PFIs and more than 100 new projects in the pipeline (across all public services, although many may now be cut). The total cost was estimated at £250 billion over 25-30 years, four times the value of the assets built (£64 billion). This is equivalent to £8,400 per taxpayer.

Duplication of existing services will also be encouraged under the pretext of ‘offering choice’ and this production of excess capacity will lead to unnecessary waste.

Extended role of the GP

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) are to be completely abolished by 2013. This will fundamentally change the structure of the NHS and radically alter the existing funding and commissioning of health care. These changes will be costly and complicated to implement.

Groups of GP surgeries (consortia) will be handed responsibility for up to 80% of the £100 billion health budget. GPs will increasingly have their eyes on budgets rather than on providing and accessing care for their patient population.

When money is a factor in a GP’s decision-making this will make purchasing the cheapest, possibly less effective health care option more attractive, regardless of a patient’s clinical need. GPs will end up avoiding referring patients on for specialist investigations and services that are deemed to be ‘too expensive’ or are not deemed to provide ‘value for money’.

35,000 doctors could form up to 500 consortia, which will then ‘buy care’ from local hospitals or other providers, including private organisations. They will hire staff to manage these processes. While some have welcomed this proposal, Unison reports that around half of GPs are opposed.

GPs are not trained for their new commissioning responsibilities and will need to employ existing commissioners to help them. Capita, for example, is already offering to ‘help’ GPs with billing and human resources etc. It is acknowledged in the White Paper that GPs will not fully understand all of the complex areas of the specialist services, eg mental health services, that they will be commissioning.

According to Rethink, a mental health charity, two-thirds of GPs say they lack the expertise to commission mental health services. Ignorance of the value of a particular service will rapidly lead to ‘disinvestment’ which is the current NHS buzz term for cutting a service.

There are some GPs who wisely realise that they are going to be handed a ‘poisoned chalice’ and will end up implementing the government’s hidden agenda of carrying out cuts to patient services.

‘Efficiency savings’, i.e. cuts of £20 billion, are expected over the next few years and if GP consortia are deemed to ‘fail’, i.e. overspend on their allocated budgets, the government is being explicit about the fact that there will be no ‘bailouts’. Any failure will pave the way for other groups with vested interests to take away the health care commissioning role from a GP consortium.

Effects on existing NHS staff

The abolition of the PCTs and SHAs will lead to masses of job losses as all of the existing staff cannot be absorbed into the new structure. Admin workers and other ancillary staff will be hit the hardest. In the meantime Andrew Lansley is already busying himself finding cushy, lucrative roles for the old bosses of the quangos.

Dame Barbara Hakin, chief executive of NHS East Midlands, has already secured a role for herself as one of the directors of the new NHS commissioning board. She will be paid £200,000 a year in the midst of ‘the very challenging financial position’ to which Lansley alludes.

In the meantime, the accelerated privatisation of the remainder of the NHS will mean that the contracts of NHS staff will change and our pay and conditions will most likely be driven down in the process. Staff will find that who they work for, what they work for and the way in which they work will change fundamentally.

Lansley is signing the death warrant for national pay bargaining and agreements: “Pay decisions should be led by health care employers rather than imposed by the government. In future, all individual employers will have the right, as foundation trusts have now, to determine pay for their own staff.” NHS workers’ pensions are also under threat.

The White Paper also proposes changes in the provision of staff training which will be outsourced to the cheapest bidder. There is a real risk that the content and the quality of training will evolve over time to incorporate more of a ‘business ethos’ with reduced emphasis on the needs of the patient being at the heart of operational philosophy.

Staff who entered the service because they care about patients will end up feeling completely demoralised as they are pressurised to ensure that ‘the company is successful’.

The cost of caring

The drive towards ‘payment by results’ and introducing ‘currencies’ for units of care will be pushed forward and standardised. This is to ensure that service providers can be compared with each other and to increase competition between an ever-growing number of health care providers.

Prices for service provision will inevitably rise as new technologies, medicines and treatments are refined and developed. An organisation called ‘Monitor’ will be involved in price regulation, but only for publicly provided NHS services.

Competition rather than cooperation will become the order of the day. Disputes between providers could become a reality and the resolution of these disputes via the courts could put further strain on the public purse.

Health and social services will be integrated further and their budgets will be pooled. This integration has already been started and staff are finding that they have to take on additional roles and responsibilities for which they are not trained. This has a negative impact on the quality of care a patient receives.

Integration of services also leads to services being centralised in one building and patients then have to travel miles out of their local area to access the service they need.

Funding arrangements for social care are being scrutinised by the government and they are openly admitting that they are considering voluntary health insurance as one of the payment options. Of course this option will not be open to everyone, particularly the unemployed and could directly lead to those most in need of services being excluded.

Patient information

The White Paper proposes radical changes to the way in which patients communicate with health care professionals. Patients and professionals will be encouraged to communicate about a patient’s health status online. This is a time-saving exercise and there is no evidence that patients have requested this style of communication or will value this ‘arm’s length’, and essentially dehumanising, approach.

There will be implications for patients as their confidential health information will be shared with a multitude of newer, profit-driven, health and social care providers and the government has yet to clarify the legal situation around this.

In reality it will be very difficult for GP consortia and the new NHS commissioning board to ensure that these many and varied health care providers are held accountable to the public.

A patient’s confidential information could end up being misused in a variety of ways and there will be more opportunities for confidentiality to be breached and privacy eroded.

These plans must be stopped

These proposed changes will make a mockery of the founding principles of the NHS constitution. Legislation still needs to get through parliament in order to effect the changes so urgent, nationwide action is needed right now to send a clear message to Andrew Lansley and the big business vultures that we, the NHS staff and service users will not tolerate the massacre of our NHS.

During the general election campaign Labour candidates liked to dress in the cloak of saviours of the NHS. This was and is pure hypocrisy. Labour’s 13-year reign saw the massive expansion of the internal market in the NHS while Private Finance Initiatives sucked up enormous amounts of public money, depositing them in the pockets of private, profiteering contractors. Lansley’s plan is but the next logical step.

While all three main parties agree wholeheartedly on the ‘need’ for private companies in the NHS the majority of public opinion wants the NHS to remain a publicly owned and run service. An overwhelming 89% of the public agree that “public services should be run by the government or local authorities, rather than by private companies”, according to a 2005 YouGov poll. A mass workers’ party that represents that majority view is desperately needed as part of the struggle to save the NHS.

We cannot sit back and allow this government to sell off the NHS. The Socialist Party calls for the formation of a broad coalition of NHS staff (nurses, ancillary and medical staff), trade unions, patients, carers, community and health campaigners to coordinate a nationwide campaign to save what remains of the NHS and rebuild it before it’s too late.

We urgently need a national trade union-led demonstration against all cuts in jobs and services. The slogans for this demonstration must include opposition to the destruction of the NHS and for kicking out the profiteers, as well as defence of health jobs and services.

The Socialist Party calls for:

End all privatisation. Return privatised services to NHS control.

Take PFI hospitals and all other privately owned aspects of the health service back from big business. Publicly fund and integrate them with the rest of the NHS.

End Foundation Trusts. For democratic control of local health services by elected health workers and community representatives as well as elected representatives from local and national government.

Nationalise the big construction companies, service companies, medical supply and pharmaceutical industries that are taking billions of pounds out of the NHS.

Build anti-cuts unions in every area to defend the NHS and all our jobs and public services.



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NEWS

Video: Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV
26/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

Norway: Lessons of the pilots’ strike
25/03/2015, Elin Gauffin, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
A struggle against outsourcing

China: Demand release of arrested women activists
24/03/2015, Sally Tang Mei-Ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

Sweden: Central bank rates cut "panic measure"
23/03/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

Tunisia: Twenty three killed in terrorist attack
20/03/2015, Statement by CWI-Tunisia:
Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

Ireland North: Public sector workers strike against austerity
18/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

North Cyprus: New strike wave against cuts
17/03/2015, Özgür İnsanoğlu and Bahtiyar Girne, North Cyprus:
Workers determined to stop austerity

Brazil: Urgent solidarity protests needed
17/03/2015, Translation of a solidarity appeal from the LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

Scotland: Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity
16/03/2015, Statement from Socialist Party Scotland Executive Committee:
Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

Britain: What lies behind UKIP?
14/03/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

Ireland North: Massive public sector strike against austerity
13/03/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

Ireland South: Marriage equality referendum set for May
12/03/2015, Helen Redwood, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

Ireland North: Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike
11/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

Iran: Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage
11/03/2015, Statement by six Iranian workers’ organizations:
Increasing demands for a living wage

Ireland North: 13 March public sector strike against austerity
10/03/2015, Text of Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) leaflet, Belfast:
Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

Video: Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day
10/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

International Women’s Day 2015
09/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

Netherlands: Wave of student protests
05/03/2015, Bas de Ruiter, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands):
For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

Austria: The year starts with antifascism
05/03/2015, Stefan Gredler, SLP (CWI in Austria):
Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

Greece: Vodafone strike declared “illegal”
04/03/2015, Jacqueline Gorou, President, Panhellenic Trade Union Vodafone-Panafone:
“None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

Russia: 50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov
03/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

Greece: “Yes there was a different choice!”
02/03/2015, Interview with Nikos Kanellis, Volos City Councilor (Xekinima/ CWI Greece) by Sascha Stanicic (SAV’/CWI Germany):
Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

Scotland: Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May
27/02/2015, Clear anti-austerity alternative necessary:
Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

Britain: Labour MP shows contempt for workers
24/02/2015, :
Three decades ago he debated with Militant leaders who warned about degeneration of his party

Germany: Pegida at an end?
24/02/2015, Michael Koschitzki, SAV (CWI Germany):
German racist mobilizations split but danger continues

Malaysia: Stop arrests of government opponents!
20/02/2015, Statement on arrests from Socialist Alternative (CWI Malaysia):
Respect the right to freedom of speech!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January