On International Nurses’ Day we applaud and salute the work and professionalism of nursing staff throughout the world.
While such praise is due to these workers at all times, it is imperative under current conditions where nurses, along with other workers, stand courageously in the frontline in dealing with the coronavirus.
Praise is not enough
Praise, however, is not enough. We applaud the courage and commitment of healthcare workers but solidarity is vital. When just a few months ago nurses had to take industrial action to secure pay parity and safe working conditions, demands which had been denied them for years, the Workers Party stood in solidarity with them. Now that they have been placed in danger by the lack of appropriate measures, including personal protection equipment, we stand in solidarity with them again.
For decades health service budgets have been slashed. The new problems created by the Covid-19 pandemic has to be considered in the context of the underfunding of public health infrastructure and the commercialisation and privatisation of health and social care in the pursuit of profit which fulfils the privatisation agenda of the European Union.
Nurses must be provided with all the protective equipment which they need. There must be an immediate end to “creeping privatisation” of health and social care and to the outsourcing of health services and jobs to the private sector. We demand the strengthening of the public health and social care system Health and social care must remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery.
This crisis has revealed the deep structural problems of the capitalist economy. We acknowledge the bravery and commitment of nurses in the midst of this pandemic, we offer our sincere condolences to those nurses who have lost their lives and we demand that nurses’ pay and safe conditions of work be guaranteed.
On this day, as on all days, we stand in solidarity with nurses. All workers must defend their rights in a system which is based on their exploitation. The Workers Party will work to end that system and to build a better socialist future.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/sturti