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Over three years, there have been big cuts in every hospital making up Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust. Many wards were closed, over 200 beds lost and up to 1,000 jobs lost by not replacing leaving staff.

Alan Turner, Leeds Socialist Party

The trust has a £50 million deficit, which has to be cut in the two financial years from April 2007. So far the axe has fallen at Chapel Allerton hospital where three wards have closed since April with many beds lost.

Patients and staff welcomed plans to reorganise heart and respiratory services on single sites, but both cardiology wards 6 and 7 have shut in the process at St James Hospital with the loss of 40 beds. The old part of Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) is being completely closed, to be sold off with its grounds for development with six wards and many beds lost.

Already part of Leeds NHS Trust has been turned over to the private sector through PFI schemes. The oncology ward at St James’, due to be the biggest in Europe when it opens next April, has been built with PFI money costing a staggering £26 million a year for the next 30 years!

PFI goes hand in hand with deficits and cuts due to the huge yearly payments involved. Leeds NHS Trust has had three years of deficits and cuts already. We cannot accept any more.

Join the demo – 3 November

The national trade union-led demonstration for the health service on 3 November cannot come quickly enough for NHS campaigners. It is true that, as the union leaders say, we need to celebrate the creation of a publicly owned NHS, free at the point of use.

But the protest’s main aim must be to defend the NHS against privatisation and marketisation, otherwise there will be no NHS left to celebrate as it reaches its 60th birthday next year.

The demo needs to support health workers in their fight against cuts in jobs and services and should also be a springboard towards launching a new workers’ party.