Monday, 21 April 2014

Why is Stoke-on-Trent's Labour council backing privatisation of the NHS?

The government has launched its biggest single privatisation of NHS services so far by inviting private companies to bid for £1.2 billion worth of contracts to provide front line cancer treatment in district hospitals and care for the terminally ill across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.

Private companies will compete to deliver cancer and end-of-life treatment for children and adults across the area – involving diagnosis and treatment such as radiology, radiotherapy, breast screening, chemotherapy, nursing and surgery for patients in hospitals, hospices and at home.

In response, Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow health spokesperson, stated in the Financial Times, “David Cameron has placed the NHS on a fast track to fragmentation and privatisation. The next election presents the last chance to change course.”

The implication in Burnham's 'opposition' to this plan is that an incoming Labour government would provide a 'chance to change course'. But if this man and the Labour Party are serious about stopping the privatisation of the NHS why wait for the unlikely prospect of a Labour government presumably riding over the hill on a white horse to save the NHS from privatisation?

Does anyone, including, Burnham himself actually belief this rubbish? The last Labour government saddled the NHS with a total of £215 billion of repayments for big business projects worth only £55-65 billion! The reality is that the Tories, Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP all support the privatisation of the NHS.

Scandalously, Stoke-on-Trent's Labour Council is supporting the handing over of £1.2 billion worth of front line NHS services to private companies - effectively the largest sell-off of NHS services so far. (see Sentinel 14 March 2014)

This is being done without any consultation with the 250,000 people who live in the city!

Stoke & Newcastle Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition is demanding that Stoke-on-Trent's Labour controlled city council have nothing to do with further privatisation of our NHS services.

Therefore Stoke & Newcastle TUSC is calling on the city council to;
  • Stop supporting the £1.2 billion sell-off of NHS cancer and end of life care across Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle and Staffordshire.
  • Oppose this attempt to provide mega profits for private companies from our local NHS services
  • Fight instead for a fully funded and publicly owned and controlled NHS
  • 'Call-in' this sell-off to be debated by their Health Overview and Scrutiny committee
  • Organise a referendum of the near 250,000 people who live in the city and campaign for a 'No to the NHS sell-off' vote