A Healthy Future: The SP Replies to the Hayes Report.

In late February 2003 Health Minister Des Browne announced the closure of a number of hospitals across Northern Ireland. He was essentially adopting the proposals contained in what has become known as the “Hayes Report”. This pamphlet is being published by the Socialist Party as a comprehensive reply to the arguments of Hayes’.

Browne's announcement does not mean that the struggle to save the local hospitals is over. The hospitals will not all close immediately but over a period of up to ten years as new hospitals are built or existing ones extended. Any new units will probably be built under the ludicrously expensive Private Finance Initiative. This means that there is a real possibility of building a mass opposition campaign and stopping this process in its tracks.

This pamphlet will provide ammunition for activists making the case for a decent health service. It is required reading not just for local hospital campaigners in the areas where closures are planned but also for trade union and community activists in other areas. The on-going privatisation of the NHS, and the rapid decrease in the total number of hospital beds, will be key issues across the North over the next few years.

Activists elsewhere in the British Isles, and indeed on continental Europe, will find this publication useful precisely because the issues concerned-the over-centralisation and privatisation of health services-are issues everywhere.



The author

Ciaran Mulholland is a consultant hospital doctor working in Whiteabbey Hospital, Newtownabbey, one of the facilities under threat. He also works as Senior Lecturer at Queen’s University Belfast.

He is a member of the Medical Practitioners Union (a section of AMICUS), the doctors’ trade union, which is affiliated to the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, is wholeheartedly committed to the NHS and is opposed to private medicine.

He is also a member of the campaigning groups the NHS Consultants Association and the Socialist Health Association.

He joined the Ballymena Young Socialists in January 1980 and has been an active socialist ever since. He is currently a National Committee member of the Socialist Party.

Opening Section of the Reply to Hayes

In addition to this major document on the NHS, Ciaran has written a substantial number of other documents. The most recent is one in Socialist View, No. 10, March 2003, on the Lessons of the Vietnam War for the current anti-war movement. (This can be bought in print from the SP, an online version will be available shortly.)

A review of David Macey's Biography of Frantz Fanon
Where is Sinn Fein going? First printed in Socialist View, Summer 2001.


PDF version is also available (approx 50 pages)

If you came directly to this document
and want to find out more about
the Socialist Party in Northern Ireland
please click here.