The NHS remains our prime battle in the war against austerity, asserts Cameron Panting
The NHS is in deep crisis, and it’s only getting worse. Every week a new problem erupts, as services are cut to shreds. Staff shortages are making the provision of care ever more difficult.
Spending on the health service is growing at the slowest rate since records began: a measly annual rate of 1.1%. Theresa May assures us that service is adequately funded. This isn’t true. It is being slowly bled.
Patients are suffering ever longer waits for casualty care, beds, cancer treatment and operations.
However, the crisis is manufactured. A deliberate undermining of the NHS has been a key Tory project since Thatcher’s time. They do not believe in public provision; to them the NHS is a constant reminder that the market is not best.
More than that, it offers a huge “investment opportunity” for their cronies in the City, and under successive governments it has been broken up and sold off. Instead, they bring hospitals to their knees, so that the fake knight in shining armour of privatisation can come along and scoop up the booty.
As for blaming those coming from different parts of the world, the truth is that the NHS is held up by the migrants that work in it. A third of doctors and a fifth of nurses were born abroad; to suggest that they are the problem is wrong and racist.
The only reason the Tories haven’t been more open about breaking it up is that they know it would be electoral suicide. People massively support the NHS, as the key symbol of the welfare state, and an integral part of their lives.
The government is weak on this. It’s down to us to push the issue, and push them out. That is the only way we will save the health service, funding it properly and fully restoring it into public hands. The money is there; it is just spent on war, and tax-breaks for the rich.
The Tories come from a different class and have the ability to jump the queues by using private healthcare. Let’s make sure that everyone has the best level of care and not just the privileged few.
Cameron Panting was formerly National Organiser for Counterfire. He is active within the People's Assembly and Stop The War.
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