For the second time in less than a month doctors are on strike at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary today.
Their presence on the picket line instead of in the operating theatre is eloquent testimony to the mulishness, arrogance and incompetence of millionaire Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
Unless, of course, it’s all a dastardly Tory plot to soften up the National Health Service for privatisation. To achieve that they must first smash the doctors’ union, the British Medical Association, just as they destroyed the National Union of Mineworkers before flogging off the coal industry.
The situation in Huddersfield is further complicated by plans to end A & E treatment at the infirmary and send patients to Halifax, Wakefield or even Barnsley.
Campaigners are fighting this move and I wish them well. But I fear this crisis for local hospital bosses is an inevitable result of what I call the ‘businessisation” of the NHS.
Our health system is not a profit and loss enterprise, it’s a public service. The clue is in the title.
But both New Labour and the Tories tried to introduce “the rigours of the market” and most hospital trusts have racked up fearsome “losses.”
Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust faces a deficit of £25m by the end of this financial year and an eyewatering £155m shortfall by 2021.
Nationally the figure exceeds a billion pounds.
This downward spiral into bankruptcy will accelerate unless the politicians get together to take NHS financing out of yahboo politics.