Jim Fagan

The ‘hostile environment’ is targeting the most vulnerable

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Covid-19 disproportionally affects BAME people and migrants, yet they have most to fear from seeking treatment, writes Jim Fagan

Since 2015 new health regulations have introduced charges for a growing number of patients wanting to access NHS services. Since then, NHS Trusts must identify and charge people deemed ineligible for free care. People who live outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland will require health insurance when they visit the UK, and those with no insurance will be charged at 150 percent of the NHS national tariff for any care they receive. An Immigration Health Surcharge has also been introduced.

Barts Health crisis

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Barts Health, the largest NHS trust in England, is now in special measures following a Care Quality Commission (CQC) report into Whipps Cross Hospital. The trust was formed as a result of a merger between Barts and the London, Newham University Hospital and Whipps Cross in 2013. The chief executive, Peter Morris; the chief nurse and the chair of the trust have all resigned with more likely to follow.

Defending the NHS: the lessons of 1988

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When 37 night nurses walked out at the end of their shift at North Manchester General Hospital in January 1988 they made an immediate impact. Images of uniformed nurses on a picket line dominated the TV evening news and newspapers the next day.

But this was not a spontaneous action. The hospital had a strong joint union committee which included socialists, and a tradition of militancy. It had discussed how workers could respond to a major offensive by the Thatcher government on NHS pay and conditions. The NUPE union representative for the night staff organised the walkout to highlight threatened cuts to special duty payments.

Pension Revolt: 'New Labour Will Not Win This War'

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The changes that New Labour is proposing to the NHS pension scheme have provoked real anger among health workers.

Undertaking jobs that are physically and emotionally demanding for relatively low pay, they are now being told they will have to work until 65 to receive a full pension. A significant number of nurses and paramedics are already unable to work until 60, retiring on grounds of ill health.

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