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We’ve saved the forests, now let’s save the NHS.

Location: UK » London » N

Andrew Lansley’s vision of the NHS has already started to take shape without a mandate. The government is proposing to spend £3 million to carry out it’s top down reforms. And although the Government says the NHS is ring-fenced, £20 billion of cuts are to be made over the next 3 years.

In 2010 Labour MP John Healey stated, “With plans for the biggest reorganisation in the NHS’s history, it is also becoming clear that Lansley is running a rogue department operating in isolation from his colleagues in government.” (The Guardian Newspaper, Nov 20th, 2010).

Health workers have spoken out about secret meetings, which have led to the sacking of district nurses and midwives. Speech therapists facing redundancies have gone on strike. Women make up 75% of the workforce in the NHS.

Wards and A & Es are fighting closure. King George’s A & E which serves 500,000 is just one example of a service threatened with closure.

In Camden two hospitals serving mental health patients have closed and are being replaced by virtual hospitals. A Trust insider said: “Having abandoned their phoney figures on bed occupancy, we now have to suffer their nonsense about creating ‘virtual hospitals’. There’s nothing virtual about closing a hundred hospital beds. Once they’re closed there will be nowhere for people to go” (Camden New Journal, 2010). In SW. Sussex 213 treatments are no longer available, this includes hip and knee replacements.

There will be less funding to train student nurses and doctors. With less funds available to train, opportunities for young people to become nurses, mid-wives, doctors, dentists, and health workers have been taken away. Medical students from have already said they cannot afford the rising fees and the additional living costs which will see them start their career in debt worth upto £50,000.

Parents and people from communities alongside health workers are fighting the closure of children’s clinics. The Leyton Health Clinic campaign is one example.

Right now the government’s declaration that any willing provider can provide services has enabled American private health care companies United Health and KPMG to provide services. United health is being taken to court by their patients for fraud.

This is just a tiny look into Andrew Lansley’s vision of our NHS. A vision, that has no mandate, and which is being undemocratically pushed through now. 

In response to the government’s undemocratic actions, health workers have taken it into their hands to stop cuts to services and redundancies happening in London now.

On January 21st GPs tried to storm parliament to read a statement to Andrew Lansley (http://www.gponline.com).

On February 3rd speech therapists in Southwark went on strike (http://www.BBC .co.uk/news).

On February 11th health workers, consultants and members of the local community protested outside Barts hospital occupying the road for 20 minutes. The occupation was inspired by student protests (Islington Tribune, 2011).

On February 17th health workers protested outside the British Medical Associations meeting. They want the BMA head to resign due to his lack of opposition to the government’s war on the NHS.

The mood is continuing. A protest named, Day X for the NHS, called by health workers and inspired by students will be held on March 9th. The protest will start at The Royal London Hospital at 5pm. It will go through the city heartland, past the banks and will end at Bart’s hospital.

Health workers have called for the support of workers and students. Students have already begun to organise. The NHS is used by all of us. And it is time we took it back from a rogue government, banks and corporations. If we don’t then by the summer it will be the end of the NHS. Aneurin Bevan said, the NHS will only survive if people defend it. So let’s campaign and protest alongside health care workers to maintain our NHS as a public service for all.

A facebook link to Day X for the NHS.


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