Wide screen devices may view this page better by clicking here

25 August 2021

Facebook   Twitter

Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

UK hospitals in danger of collapse

Fight for funding to keep us safe

Hinchingbrooke hospital has weight limits for patients. Photo: Andy Parrett/CC

Hinchingbrooke hospital has weight limits for patients. Photo: Andy Parrett/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Mike Cleverley, Waltham Forest Socialist Party

The NHS is crumbling from decades of underinvestment. Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, has its ceilings propped up with almost 200 steel props. Hinchingbrooke Hospital has set a weight limit for patients who can be treated in two of its operating theatres. The West Suffolk hospital, in Bury St. Edmunds currently has 27 of these 'pit props' or 'acrows' supporting its ceilings.

These hospitals, along with some schools and other public buildings, were built between 1960 and 1990 using reinforced concrete planks. It is these planks which are failing. The building method used was favoured by health trusts and local council-funded projects because it is quick and cheap. What was not broadcast at the time was that these concrete planks, and consequently the buildings, had a lifespan of just 30 years!

In 2020, hospital trusts participated in 'Exercise Hodges' that simulated a scenario where a hospital had to be evacuated due to concrete plank failure. The question was raised: "Would other hospitals have to be evacuated if one hospital suffered such a collapse?"

This is far from just a local problem. Hospitals in West Yorkshire, Surrey and Cheshire, as well as several others, are known to be planning for similar events.

The cost of keeping the structure in West Suffolk safe is estimated to be around £70 million. The government says it has given £1,021 million to help hospitals address similar problems. All part of what it says is the 'generous funding' of the UK health care system.

Meanwhile, in my local area of east London, the Bart's Healthcare Trust proposes the demolition of a hospital built over 100 years ago and the building of a new hospital, using similar 'modern techniques', with 81 fewer beds for the post-pandemic era. This project is welcomed by the local Labour council and will be part-financed by the sale of most of the present site to property developers. Not to build council homes to house the 9,000 on the waiting list, but to build yet more flats that local people can't afford.

We need investment in our NHS infrastructure now - to make our hospitals safe, and to meet the growing needs of our local communities. Private companies looking to make a profit cannot be trusted to do this. We need to build a movement of NHS workers and patients, backed up by the wider trade union movement, to fight for an NHS pay rise and a fully public and democratically run NHS.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 25 August 2021:

What we think

Afghanistan disaster - Unite to fight for funding for refugees and local communities


Afghanistan in crisis:

Afghanistan: The Taliban takeover - what are the lessons for the workers' movement internationally



UK hospitals in danger of collapse

University of Leeds students bribed to stay away while staff are under attack

Exam results: grade gap widens

Lessons from Poplar 100 years on

Lessons from Poplar 100 years on

Workplace news

NEU: Oppose the pay freeze with action not just words

Care workers struggle for a pay rise and trade union recognition

Reject the Ministry of Justice pay offer

East Midlands rail strikes continue

Homelessness workers fight for better pay and conditions across sector

Woolwich ferry strikers - the action necessary to win

Liverpool university strike saves jobs


Nigeria: Comrade Omomeewa, student leader and socialist campaigner, killed by armed assailants

SNP-Green deal will not deliver for workers and youth

Reflections on the Lebanese tragedy one year on


Biggest in-person socialist event this year!

Ealing by-election: Labour council has not opposed Tory cuts

Why I rejoined the Socialist Party

Councils declared climate emergency - now act like it!

Wales: Gearing up for 9 October youth marches

Liverpool: Stop the arms fair!

Marching for Kashmir's liberation

Donate to stop Tories clawing back crumbs

Readers' opinion

Film Review: Martin Eden

TV review: Revolutionary Love


Home   |   The Socialist 25 August 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleTory NHS funding won't fix staff shortage

triangleSolidarity to the striking workers at Charité and Vivantes hospitals in Berlin

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers strike over pay parity and workload

triangleIsrael: Hospital ancillary workers strike over pay parity and workload

triangleLeicester private healthcare tragedy


triangleCoventry: Private profits from hospital parking

triangleTory cuts and privatisation leave NHS in crisis

triangleBehind the rural idyll - the problems of everyday life

triangleTory plans won't fix social care


triangleTory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis

triangleNo trust in Tories to keep us safe

triangleTories hand cash to private health profiteers


triangleNewham college strike solid against bully privatisers

triangleCoventry bin strike continues

Article dated 25 August 2021

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party


Pay in Fighting Fund

Pay in paper and book sales


Bulk book orders

New member submission


triangle25 Jan Cardiff West Socialist Party: Anarchism and Socialism

triangle26 Jan Gloucestershire and Swindon Socialist Party: Building a working-class political voice

triangle26 Jan Hackney & Islington Socialist Party: Marxism and the State


The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party

Subscribespacer|spacerebook / Kindlespacer|spacerPDF versionspacer|spacerText / Printspacer|spacer1163 onlinespacer|spacerBack issuesspacer|spacer Audio files

Just Eat strikers

Two Sheffield 'Just Eat' couriers spoke to Sheffield Socialist Party about their strike to stop a pay cut and their demands for a pay rise, paid waiting times and union recognition (click here).

What We Stand For
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Platform setting: =

Desktop version