Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 47 Number 3, February 25, 2017 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Health Campaigns Together March 4 Demonstration and Rally It's Our NHS:

Build the Movement to Safeguard the Future of the NHS!

On Saturday March 4, thousands of people from community health campaigns, health workers and their trade unions and people from all over England and Wales will take part in a demonstration in London, marching from Tavistock Square to Parliament Square for a mass rally to affirm It's Our NHS. This demonstration and rally, which was called by Health Campaigns Together last Autumn, has now become a major focus of what is a growing movement to safeguard the future of the NHS and for society to take the alternative direction to the government-led cuts, closures and privatisation of our health services.

The capital-centred direction for the NHS, which has been deliberately implemented by successive governments over many years, has today placed the NHS in an unprecedented crisis. Over these winter months, this direction has brought the NHS to breaking point, endangering the lives of thousands of people with overstretched Accident & Emergency departments, ambulance services, mental health services and the cancellation of vital operations, not to mention the effect of the massive government cuts to social care budgets on the most vulnerable people. Yet still the government presses ahead with its cuts to health and social care with its Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), which take further the agenda of wrecking the NHS, in favour of increasing the privatisation by the US, EU and British health monopolies. This direction is for a health system for which people will increasingly be forced to pay, making it harder for people to have access to public NHS services. The organisers of the demonstration have therefore declared that STP really stands for "Slash, Trash and Privatisation" of the NHS.

It is this situation that is increasingly giving rise to campaigns that fight to save their NHS services and fight to reverse the whole direction of cuts to public health services, marketisation of the NHS and privatisation. These campaigns bring people together from trade unions in the hospitals, people in the community, MPs, councillors and political parties into a campaign where the people decide, working out their aims and actions regardless of political views.

Today in Britain, as in any modern society, health care is the right of all and must be guaranteed. This question is posed for the whole movement to solve by depriving the ruling elite of the power to deprive the people of their public health care system and opening the path for the creation of a modern direction for a health care system that meets all the needs of the people. The issue that health care is a right in a modern society was brought into being in 1948 but now must be renewed in the modern conditions where this right has increasingly denied by the powers that be. The ruling elite continually repeat that health and other public services are a "cost and a burden" because of "people getting older", "health tourism" and other such insults and disinformation. But what they refuse to recognise is that health workers and clinicians add value to the economy. It is the health service that maintains the people's health so that they can contribute to science, manufacturing, service industries, culture and other human endeavours. It is the people who bear the "cost and burden" because the monopolies consume this added-value without paying for it and successive governments refuse to reclaim this value from these owners of social wealth. Reclaiming this added-value for healthcare from the owners of social wealth would ensure that the rationing of healthcare is ended and that the claims of all are met for a modern healthcare system. The government continues to insist that a healthy economy is a priority to achieve a healthy NHS; but they fail to point out that a fully-funded NHS caring for the health and welfare of the people is a precondition for a thriving sustainable economy.

At this demonstration and rally we should declare that health care is a right, that public right should prevail and the duty of government to provide a comprehensive acute and community, physical and mental health service to all communities must be restored but with health workers and the people being the decision-makers. We should proclaim, as health workers and as workers everywhere, that we create the value in society and we make our claim on the economy - what is ours is ours - to safeguard the future of the NHS and all our public services.

Health Care Is a Right! Intensify the Fight!
It Is Our NHS!


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