NHS and health

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

Covid-19: public health, and workers' rights too!

Published on: Tue, 24/03/2020 - 21:27


1. Requisition (in other words, take into emergency public ownership):

• private hospitals, so that all their resources are directly available to the NHS
• the pharmaceutical and medical-supplies industries, so that production can be ramped up in a coordinated way to meet the crisis
• manufacturing facilities which can be adapted to produce ventilators and other medical equipment
• hotels and empty houses, to use them for the NHS, for the homeless, and for domestic violence victims
• transport and logistics, so that essential deliveries and travel can be coordinated and planned
• the big

Keynesianism and COVID-19

Published on: Mon, 23/03/2020 - 15:56

By Natalia Cassidy

With every major crisis capitalism has faced since the Second World War, we have seen Keynesianism rear its head. Either in the form of actual policy enacted or in the realm of ideas that come to the fore at these times. Our current situation with COVID-19 is no different. It is as the American monetarist economist Robert Lucas Jr. succinctly put it: “I guess everyone’s a Keynesian in a foxhole”, when capital sees itself in major crisis, Keynesianism reemerges in order to offer a solution. However, there is a widespread ignorance about what Keynesianism actually means.

In lay terms the term

NHS England policy says full pay for all if off for Covid-19: make managers comply!

Published on: Sat, 21/03/2020 - 06:51

A document from NHS England dated 4/3/20 says all workers on NHS premises should be fully paid to comply with public health advice.

Yet mostly it hasn't been made public or used by workers and unions. Managers are keeping it quiet or don't know about it.

Each day that passes that workers don't know about this provision puts the NHS workforce and NHS patients under greater risk of infection.

Spread the news: https://elftworkerssolidarity.org/!

Covid-19: make Labour speak out!

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 16:03

Rhodri Evans

On 17 March, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn presented a list of demands to the Government:

• extend sick pay to all workers;
• increase sick pay;
• introduce rent and mortgage payment deferment options;
• ban coronavirus evictions;
• remove the requirement to present for Universal Credit and reduce the waiting time;
• support councils working with food banks.

Those leave a lot unsaid, though, and the Labour leadership has made no effort to publicise the demands. A short video put out on social media by the Labour Party on the same day, 17 March, did no more than explain that the epidemic makes

Anti-migrant policies worsen Covid-19 dangers

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 07:31

Ben Towse

The harsh regime of hostile policies imposed on both documented and undocumented migrants living in this country is already a racist scandal.

Now, with the spread of Covid-19, these policies put migrants at increased risk and could exacerbate the public health crisis. Labour, our unions and our movement must demand immediate action to protect migrants.

1,500 to 2,000 people are imprisoned in the UK’s immigration detention centres. Close-quarters incarceration and the frequent moving of detainees between centres mean that Covid-19 could spread rapidly and put both detainees and staff working in

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