The NHS is in crisis, and the doctors and nurses who keep it going in the face of serial underfunding say it needs fixing (not patching up) with immediate effect.
In terms of immediate political solutions, Jeremy Corbyn represents a rare ray of light with his longstanding backing of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, a Bill which if ever introduced in Parliament would serve to reverse decades of costly acts of privatisation of our health services.
But in terms of grassroots solutions, it seems that normal working class people are once again beginning to fight back.
Earlier today, Leicester played host to one of its busiest protests of recent years, with over 1,000 people marching in unison in defiance of NHS England’s attempts to close Glenfield Children’s Heart Unit.
Jon Ashworth, who is the current Shadow Health Minister, addressed the protest with supportive words, later tweeting “We won before let’s win again.” This leads to the obvious question: what is Jon planning to do to make sure the NHS Reinstatement Bill receives the full attention it deserves and urgently needs from the Labour Party? (Why not email him to find out — firstname.lastname@example.org)
Further afield in Grantham, upwards of 8,000 people rallied through their streets to say no to the night-time closure of their only A&E.
Back in Leicester, on the letters page of today’s local newspaper, David Cross explained how “NHS changes are disguising cuts, not improvement” (October 29, Leicester Mercury).
David drew much-needed attention to the Government’s latest efforts to reduce (they say reform) the NHS through their misnamed “Sustainability and Transformation Plans” which are being rolled out to replace their equally Orwellian “Better Care Together” plans. As David points out:
“Each successive plan tries to juggle with the conundrum of providing good care with reduced resources; working to the myth sown by the Government that the NHS is unaffordable. It’s the old adage, well-practiced by this Government – tell a lie enough times and people believe it…
“Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is following a classic privatisation strategy: under-fund, make it not work and then the NHS is ripe for transformation into the Government’s preferred insurance model, as per the USA. Consequently, I’m convinced in the end this will be more about disguising cuts and saving money than improving delivery.”
If you are not doing so already, get involved in the local fightback to save the NHS by signing up to support the “Save Glenfield Heart Unit Campaign” on Facebook, so you can receive updates about their forthcoming activities. And continue to hold your local politicians to account by demanding that they actively get involved in the struggle to kick corporate profiteers out of our NHS.