Not a day goes by when our NHS is not under attack from the government. This explains why our Junior Doctors have been forced into planning further strike actions to prevent further dangerous ‘reforms’ to facilitate the mismanagement of our health services.
In recent months I have been campaigning alongside many others in fighting to stop the closure of the Glenfield Heart Unit in Leicester, but we are also demanding that no heart units should be shut down in other parts of the country too.
With a £22 billion funding gap in the NHS, it is little wonder that the government is pushing through dangerous closures, and in Leicester we have just been informed that plans are on the table to close down acute services at the Leicester General Hospital.
So today I travelled to Grantham and joined over two thousand other people in marching through the rain with our heads and banners held high to demand that the so-called ‘temporary’ closure of their A&E is reversed, now not later. (This followed on from an earlier protest that had been attended by over 200 people on August 14 — see “Grantham protest against night-time closure of A&E” — and an evening vigil on August 24)
Protests can work, as demonstrated recently by the campaign waged by members of the local community and the Fire Brigades Union to stop the proposed cuts to the fire and rescue service in Lincolnshire.
One enthused person on today’s march left an important message on the event’s facebook page noting:
“Fantastic turn out. I just want to say that we moved from Lewisham, south East London, [to Grantham] in 2015. An amazing community campaign against Jeremy Hunts’ ridiculous idea to implement massive cuts to Lewisham hospital lead to an incredible victory for residents. Proof that if you keep fighting, sign petitions and write letters – we can win!!!!”
To read more about how the campaign to save Lewisham hospital succeeded see their web site here http://www.savelewishamhospital.com
But with the NHS being serially underfunded the attacks upon local communities continue, and tomorrow community campaigners in Huddersfield are holding their own rally to save their own A&E. http://handsoffhri.org
If anything the sheer number of local protests merely demonstrates how important it is to link up local NHS campaigns and plan for a national “Save Our NHS” demonstration to force our government to fund the NHS properly so it can start to expand, not restrict service provision!
In the meantime NHS petitions which can be signed and shared online include: