HOW CAN WE DEFEND THE NHS? – Meeting WEDNESDAY 4 JULY, 7.30 pm

Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts have organised a meeting in Gloucester to discuss the threats to our National Health Service and a strategy to defend it. We have been leafleting health workers, patients, and the general public – the following text is taken from the leaflet.
DEFEND THE NHS
The NHS is under attack. Cameron promised the NHS would be safe in his hands and that there would be no top-down, expensive reform – but he also promised to curb bankers’ bonuses. For years, private companies have been getting rich at the expense of the NHS. This is not widely known, but NHS staff are well aware of the effects.
The Health and Social Reform Act will open-up the NHS to competition. The government claims GPs will control patient care (the commissioning of services) but most GPs oppose the Act and say the system is simply unworkable and will lead to a two-tier system which will create a health lottery & poorer patients getting inadequate health care.
FIGHT THE HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE ACT
NO TO PFIs!          NO TO PRIVATISATION!
So-called PFI’s (private finance initiatives), allegedly set up to help finance hospitals, have bled the NHS dry. Now some hospitals are being declared bankrupt and many face huge debts due to the greed of private companies. At the same time, drug companies demand astronomic sums and mis-use patent laws to boost their massive profits – all at our expense.
FIGHT REGIONALISATION OF WAGES The government is imposing regional pay agreements and cuts to public sector pensions to cut costs & make the NHS more attractive to private companies. This must be fought all the way!
HOW CAN WE DEFEND THE NHS?
Meeting WEDNESDAY 4  JULY, 7.30 pm
Barton Community Centre,
199 Barton Street, Gloucester
Health unions condemn regional “Pay Cartel”
The trades unions and professional associations that represent NHS staff in the 16 South West NHS trusts have rightly condemned plans to cut pay, terms and conditions for staff in the region.
The “South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium” made up of the 16 trusts intends to form a pay cartel in order to cut pay and local terms & conditions by ditching the existing nationally-agreed framework. The new consortium would have a director and employ a management company, as well as using trust personnel – all this – the unions fear – would divert money from patient care. It would certainly demoralise NHS staff and have a big effect on their earnings. There is already a trend within the NHS to use staff not qualified to do the work asked of them – in some cases unpaid staff are being deployed on Workfare schemes. Staff morale was already at an all-time low as frontline NHS services and staff have faced devastating cuts. Thousands of jobs have been axed in England due to the £20bn cuts and budgets being restricted to an increase of only 0.1% a year. Staff who have already seen their jobs re-graded (i.e. wages cut), their workload increase and their pensions threatened – now face the prospect of changes to their contracts and lower wages.
In November the health unions struck over pensions, followed by the BMA strike this June – the first doctors strike in 40 years. The unions need to mobilise a mass campaign to defend the NHS. We need to fight for every job, for the wages & conditions of NHS workers, as well as to defend a free publicly-owned health service.
Join our campaign! Meet with us on Wed 4 July or
Contact Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts
  cheltenhamagainstcuts@gmail.com 

Labour & the ConDems bailed out the banks – the rich avoid paying taxes – why should we pay for their crisis with our jobs, wages and services?

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