Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rising tide of NHS protests

I have just got back from the "Save the NHS" demonstration and rally in Birmingham. I have not been to Birmingham for a number of years - hasn't it changed! Three or four hundred joined the march and a smaller number stayed for the rally to hear speakers including Dr Elizabeth Barrett from the community in North Derbyshire that just fought off a giant private health multinational, Dr Richard Taylor MP- the independent elected on a defend the health service platform, a speaker from the Campaign Against Euro Federalism on the effects of the latest EU directives on healthcare, a very good speaker from Keep Our NHS Public and some local MPS and health workers. The National Pensioners Convention had mobilised for the march and the pensioners groups are to be congratulated for their turnout. I marched with some Birmingham Green Party members who had brought along their banner. Respect also had some representation, mainly members of the SWP and ISG.
The turnout could have been better, but looking around the country this is just one part of a wave of unrest on the government health plans and current funding problems and cuts. The BBC reports on TUC concern and demonstrations around local health provision crises in various parts of the country. Keep Our NHS Public said of today -

“Across England NHS patients and local communities have been linking up with nurses, doctors and other health care workers to meet, march, protest and lobby as they fight to stop further closures and cuts in local NHS services.

Beds, wards and even whole hospitals are closing down. 30 community hospitals are under threat. Newly qualified nurses and other health professionals are finding no jobs in the NHS, and thousands more health workers' jobs are being axed.

But alongside the cuts, an unprecedented process of privatisation is under way: vital services and precious NHS resources are being handed over to the private sector, including companies run for profit for shareholders here and overseas.

Now is the time to fight back to Keep Our NHS Public!”

The campaign is a rising tide and anger at both New Labour and the implications of EU policy on health services are very much a part of this along with concern for jobs and health provision in local areas. It is good that some of the unions are starting to unite in fighting to stop these attacks. It is time there was a united national campaign of action, and all on the progressive left should be backing it. Check the Keep Our NHS Public website for details of upcoming protests, and let them know of any in your area.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home