The Communist Party of Britain (CPB) expresses its solidarity with the Junior Doctors in their struggle against the new contracts imposed by the government and calls upon all unions to act in solidarity with them to save the NHS.
The Junior Doctors' fight is not only about rates of pay, staffing and hospital fines. It is about the future of NHS itself. The Tory government is imposing additional financial and staffing burdens on the NHS in order to present it as a 'failure' requiring drastic 'reform'. This reform will, of course, take the shape of more marketisation, charges to patients, more private sector provision and the outright privatisation of NHS services and facilities.
We therefore urge unity with the BMA and other health unions to protect free and high quality healthcare. All workers and their unions must unite to stop the Tory privatisation and destruction of the NHS. The Department of Health's claim that the new Junior Doctors' contract is necessary to deliver the promised 7-day NHS is a Tory lie. The 7-day NHS is already in place, except that the government is not prepared to fund it adequately, especially at weekends, relying on overworked Junior Doctors working unsocial hours with insufficient staff support.
The Tories have repeatedly attempted to discredit the Junior Doctors and their unions, showing contempt for their overwhelming rejection of the new contract. After meeting solid resistance from the overwhelming majority of the workforce, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and his government took the most anti-democratic course of action by seeking to impose it.
In reality, the Tory government is acting on behalf of big multinational companies who want to privatise the NHS for the sake of profit. Very methodically, the NHS is being carved up and handed out to private companies. To facilitate this process, the government hopes to demoralise already exhausted, disheartened doctors, denigrating their efforts and their commitment and hoping they will not resist the cuts, burdens and privatisation.
Privatisation is already well underway, especially in England where the government has direct control over the NHS. In Scotland, the EU Commission is forcing the SNP government to increase the role of the private sector in funding and managing new NHS projects. The Labour administration in Wales is being punished financially by Tory central government for failing to privatise more parts of the Welsh NHS.
Significantly, the Scottish and Welsh governments have put the interests of staff, patients and the NHS first by extending their contracts with the Junior Doctors and their unions, rather than imposing pay cuts and even more flexible working. The peoples of England, Scotland and Wales hold the NHS very close to their hearts.
It continues to be a tremendous social achievement to have a service free to all at the point of delivery. At a time when every aspect of the Welfare State is under savage attack, the NHS is no exception to Tory plans. In fact the NHS is a key target.
Everyone in Britain must realise that the fight to save the NHS has reached a new phase. The Tory government's attack on Junior Doctors in England is part of this overall fight and consultants, nursing staff and all healthcare workers who give their life and labour to make NHS what it is, will be next.
It is also no coincidence that the Junior Doctors have been targeted just as new Tory anti-trade legislation limits still further the right of workers to take industrial action, even more severely in essential services such as healthcare.
Therefore Communist Party urges all unions and all working people to unite with the Junior Doctors and all other health workers and their unions to save the NHS from privatisation.
The Communist Party calls for:
• Withdrawal of the imposed Junior Doctors' new contracts in England
• No changes in the classification of unsocial hours.
• No changes to pay progression.
• The resignation of Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for misrepresenting hospital mortality rates and failing to settle the dispute along the same lines as the Scottish and Welsh agreements.
• An end to the privatisation of NHS services and facilities.
The Communist Party calls on the working people of Britain and their unions to support the Junior Doctors' struggle.
Lobby your MPs to demand a just settlement of the dispute!
Express support for the Junior Doctors in the media and on the picket lines!