Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 25, July 4, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

72nd Anniversary of the NHS:

Keep The Heartbeat Going!
Let Us Make This A Turning Point In Our Favour For The NHS

Statement of the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign

July 5, 2020 marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the NHS. Whilst everyone knows how the health and care workers have played an outstanding role in saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, people should also reflect on the fight to save hospital and community services over the last 4 years and many decades before that. Campaigns like our SSTHC, trade union activists and those in wider circles have played a vital role in this fight to organise the NHS in our favour. It is our hospital, our NHS and we should decide.

This is also a reflection of what is happening in every part of the country. Although we haven't been able to save all the vital services in every area, our collective resistance has significantly delayed the implementation of further closures. In South Tyneside, those in control, under the plans of government wanted to close by 2017 hundreds more hospital beds and acute services at our District General hospital. This would have meant even less-safe access to vital urgent and acute services by redirecting local patients to already overcrowded services at Sunderland and elsewhere. Because the people resisted these changes, the services were still open and available with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The hospital is largely still here for us because of the fight people have undertaken to save its services over the last 4 years and decades before that. Through this fight, more people have become involved, extending the fight to other services, such as end of life palliative care when St Clare's Hospice in South Tyneside was closed last year.

Then during the the coronavirus pandemic it became clear that our fight here and throughout the country could be transformed into an asset for the people by us taking up the battle against the government and authorities over their handling of this virus outbreak. We have been fighting the refusal to provide the right protection equipment in the quantity needed, as well as their refusal to test staff in health and care homes for Covid19 in a timely manner. We continue to support all those health workers and those in our trade union circles in that fight as well as helping to keep everyone safe in our communities.

We have also raised people's awareness of the Trade Bill presently being rushed through Parliament by the government and it is essential that we oppose this Trade Bill from becoming law certainly in its present form. There is a huge resistance with over 2.3 million people signing petitions against the NHS being put up for sale and our food standards being deregulated by international agreements that will be enabled by the Bill. We should decide as a people what industries and public services we have and what we trade abroad and not an international network of companies that can use the Trade Bill to privatise our NHS and public services and vital industries, and for companies here to take control from the people of other countries of their same public services and vital industries. That is what the Trade Bill will enable in international trade agreements in a nutshell.

So, our assessment must be today that with this experience we have had, particularly over the last 4 years together, that we must keep speaking out in our name and keep the fight going. We must fight to get an outcome that favours the people and where we make the decisions to make health care a right for all that is guaranteed in South Tyneside and everywhere else. Keep the heartbeat going, let us strive to make this a turning point in our favour for the NHS. It is our hospital, our NHS and we should decide!

Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign

July 4, 2020


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