NHS and health

Workers’ control of PPE!

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 10:13

An ambulance worker

There is alarm amongst many about the lack of PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] being provided to workers at risk of exposure to Covid-19. Rightly so.

The information regarding protection has been confusing, with different recommendations initially coming from the World Health organisation (WHO) and Public Health England (PHE). Workers in the frontline are being told what to do rather than being involved in the decisions that affect them. We don’t trust our bosses to protect us. Many workers are superseding recommended protection with support of trade unions. For example in my workplace, an

Requisition and workers' control to get tests and PPE

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 09:07

Martin Thomas

In the Thursday 8pm “clapping for the NHS” on 2 April 2020, many people chanted “Test! Test! Test! PPE!”

Health workers are pressing the government on its failure to meet its promises to expand testing hugely, to make PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] available to all, and to agree adequate PPE guidelines for health workers.

So, even, are NHS bosses. NHS Providers, a confederation of NHS hospital, mental health, community, and ambulance trusts, said on 3 April: “There are still trusts that are unable to begin testing, and lack of swabs, reagents and test kits is a continuing concern”.


Threat to disabled people

Published on: Tue, 07/04/2020 - 08:49

Janine Booth

Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) are objecting to the lack of adequate healthcare, the loss of social care support, the erosion of rights – and the ominous attitude that disabled people are somehow less worthy of life.

At the onset of the pandemic, assurances abounded that people need not worry too much, as the virus posed a serious threat only to the old and those with underlying health conditions. These people were “someone else” in messages directed to the “normal” population. Even now that it has become clear that everyone is in danger, disabled people remain more vulnerable, not

Covid-19: fight for workers' control

Published on: Tue, 31/03/2020 - 07:17

1. Requisition (in other words, take into emergency public ownership)
• private hospitals, as Ireland and Spain have done
• the pharmaceutical and medical-supplies industries, so that production can be ramped up in a coordinated way to meet the crisis
• high finance, so that the epidemic is not compounded by a snowballing economic slump resulting from an implosion of credit
• and other sectors where coordinated mobilisation is necessary.

2. Fight for workers’ control
The workers ourselves, taking expert advice, should have a decisive voice in identifying and running what is essential, and how

NHS: full isolation pay, PPE, carers

Published on: Mon, 30/03/2020 - 21:57

By an NHS worker at ELFT

At my workplace, the East London NHS Foundation Trust, we’ve been putting together information on pay for workers following public health advice.

There are many zero-hours and contract workers in NHS buildings, and it wasn’t clear what they would get. We did a couple of weeks’ agitation among all the workers in my workplace — of all grades — and had a prolonged to-and-fro with senior management.

At the end of that we discovered that the Trust already had a policy of full pay if following public health advice for all workers in the building, and then that NHS England

Full paid leave for all in the NHS

Published on: Thu, 26/03/2020 - 16:05

East London Health Workers

Essential workers at East London NHS Foundation Trust have organised and taken action to reduce the risk of infection and to keep each other and the patients safe.

“We are the workers that will keep going through this pandemic. Together we can take action for safer workplaces”, they say.

On 16 March mental health nurses, doctors, social workers, admin and cleaners in East London, emailed the chief executive seeking assurances that all workers operating in ELFT premises would be entitled to full paid leave, where necessary, to comply with the government’s public health advice.

By Thursday 19

Emergency powers: who checks?

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 08:46

Yes, any government would need emergency powers in an epidemic like this, to shut down activities which endanger not just those taking part, but others near them, and endanger the NHS too.

That does not mean that we should trust the Tories.

The government agreed under pressure to have the emergency powers reconsidered after six months, not to run for two years as they first proposed.

In this fast-moving emergency, that should be monthly.

Parliament should go online rather than either shutting or being depleted due to self-isolation. Make the government accountable!

The legislation gives

Lessons from past pandemics

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 08:12

Martin Thomas

The nearest historical precedent to the Covid-19 pandemic is the “Spanish flu” which swept the world between March 1918 and March 1920, in three successive and distinct waves.

On the best estimates, made decades later because no one counted well at the time, that strain of flu infected about one-third of the world’s whole population and killed between 50 and 100 million, possibly more than World War 1 and World War 2 combined.

The deaths peaked sharply in the second wave, between mid-September and mid-December 1918. Most strains of flu disproportionately kill the elderly and the very young.

Requisition pharma!

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 07:55

Rhodri Evans

Personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, ventilators, Covid-19 test kits, and even hand sanitiser and paracetamol are in short supply in hospitals. Why?

Arguing that the then-common socialist demand that workers receive the “full fruits of their labour” was nonsense, Karl Marx explained that from the total social product must be deducted:

“First, cover for replacement of the means of production used up. Secondly, additional portion for expansion… Thirdly, reserve or insurance funds to provide against… calamities, etc”.

And further “the part which is intended for the common

No going back! Fight for socialism!

Published on: Wed, 25/03/2020 - 07:21

Sacha Ismail

In the emergency, Britain’s right-wing Conservative government is going for a limited, crude and undemocratic form of “socialism”.

It is overriding market signals and criteria, and being forced to fall back on a bureaucratic and hierarchical approximation of the socialist ideal of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.

In sector after sector, from the (patchy) steps to guarantee incomes for those unable to work, to banning evictions, to acquiring private hospital facilities, to taking over rail franchises to removing competition-law curbs on cooperation

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