Ben Stevenson, Croydon North Communist Party candidate , spoke today about the pressing need to save the NHS. He said, “Despite the announcement that Croydon A&E will not face immediate closure, the cuts in health services across South London are going to place a massive amount of additional pressure on Croydon University Hospital (formerly Mayday Hospital).
Even without these cuts the coalition government is trying to sell-off our NHS through the back-door. Bizarrely, Virgin Care, better known for making eye-watering profits in the rail and communications industry while offering a terrible service to consumers, has been employed to run the Urgent Care Centre at Croydon University Hospital since the beginning of this year. What they know about health-care you could print on the back of a matchbox! This is the start of a slippery slope as large parts of the NHS are handed over to the private sector.”
Less than a year in, a damming report has been published on Virgin’s record which points to ‘a recent, sudden and sustained failure in performance’. This is inevitable, as Virgin rely heavily on agency staff, are currently under-staffed, and focus on making profit for shareholders rather than providing good quality patient care. Privatisation of the NHS is accelerating under the Government, with Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary, ordering all Primary Care Trusts to put three chunks of their NHS out to tender. Rationing of services is already happening across the country, A&E waiting times are going up and a number of NHS Foundation Trusts are facing bankruptcy and possible closure because of the ill-judged Private Finance Initiative funding package forced on them by New Labour. Rather than address the problems caused by PFI, the Tory-led coalition is content to see hospitals merge or go to the wall. In the meantime, patient satisfaction levels are slumping and vast sums are being wasted on management consultants and the costs of needless restructuring and privatisation.
Mr Stevenson went on to say, “The NHS is the crown jewel in Britain’s post-war welfare state. Good quality healthcare, free at the point of access, from cradle to grave, is the hall mark of a civilised society. Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS, famously said, ‘The NHS will survive as long as there are folk left to fight for it.’ Well, the fight is on!
“After thirty years of privatisation – by both Tory and New Labour – it’s plain for all to see that the ‘private good, public bad’ mantra is total rubbish. The people who know best how to run the NHS, or any public service, are the dedicated, professional public sector workers who deliver that service. You can’t run a public service for profit without it costing more to the taxpayer and more to service users, along with an inevitable decline in quality and access to the service.
Vote Communist on 29 November. Vote for someone who actually has a record of fighting NHS privatisation and stands against cuts and closures”
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