The Socialist 11 May 2016
Tories retreat: now drive them out!
The Socialist 11 May 2016 |
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Save Paignton Hospital campaign launched
Marching to Save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
Alex Moore, Exeter and Torbay Socialist Party
Paignton Community Hospital is being closed with a rumoured loss of 100 beds. The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has made no clear promise to replace these beds and services in the community. The only clear fact in their report is that the CCG is cutting £16 million from its 2016/17 budget.
So, over 70 people met on 4 May to launch a Save Paignton Hospital campaign. The CCG is promising a 12-week consultation period, but it's only a scam. During the meeting a worker at the hospital showed me a photo of the hospital with a 'for sale' notice on it in a local estate agents!
This should not surprise anyone. The CCGs were brought in on April Fool's Day three years ago to replace the Primary Care Trusts as part of the Con-Dem government's Health and Social Care Act which ended government's duty to provide free healthcare.
Their role is to bring about the piecemeal privatisation of the NHS by putting contracts out for private tender and making cuts.
More ominously, the local Unison rep who was leading talks declined to even register a dispute with management. This means that unless the GMB decides to act independently, there will be no attempt to save jobs at the hospital. Workers at the meeting feared that staff will simply begin to look for work elsewhere and the hospital would have to close anyway due to shortages.
Despite these difficulties the campaign is going ahead and good links have been established with the 'Torbay three towns against poverty and cuts' group. Joint campaign stalls will be run and signatures collected and Save Paignton Hospital will be invited to lead the Torbay three towns march on 25 June.