From the TUC

Health workers from around the world back our rally for the NHS

03 Mar 2012, By

On top of the solidarity messages we’ve been getting from TUC equivalents around the world over the last week, one group of union members has a special message. Just as health workers have played a key role in persuading the public in the UK that the Government’s proposals are bad for the NHS, health workers around the world are similarly convinced that the Government’s proposals should not go ahead. Unions from Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, South Africa and Spain have written to us ahead of our rally to save the NHS on 7 March.

Health service unions in other countries see the NHS as a beacon to the world. South African union SAMWU say: “In addition to providing free and accessible healthcare for generations of people, the NHS has also been an important global model” and the Australian Services Union told us “the UK NHS is a beacon to many, and no doubt some do not share our beliefs across the world would like to see it pulled down.” Impact from Ireland said: “since its foundation was completed in 1948, the National Health Service has been a leading light in the delivery of public health. A universal system, free at the point of access, remains the envy of the world.”

They recognise the threat, and in some cases have faced it themselves. Impact warn:

“In Ireland, recent years have seen concerted attempts to encourage the privatisation of healthcare, a process that has faltered somewhat in the face of an economic crisis. However, a two tier system has developed as a result of attempts to grow private health delivery, which has threatened to erode our public health system. Don’t let your Government make the same mistake.”

SAMWU add:

“It is indicative of the mean-spirited neo-liberal approach of the current UK Government that is seeking to impoverish working class communities in order to pay for an economic crisis that the Government itself helped to create, and for which it is prepared to sacrifice invaluable social assets like the NHS and many other vital services.”

And the NUPGE in Canada say:

“Canadians are no strangers to threats to our Medicare program. Like you, we are confronted with a federal government that seems intent on fragmenting and then turning over the delivery of health care in this country to for-profit companies. Our governments are pursuing this agenda despite overwhelming support in both of our countries for our public health care systems.

“This is why your struggle is so important not only for the citizens of the UK but for all of us who value a publicly-funded and delivered health care system. If your government is successful in so dramatically rewriting the principles of your health care system, our federal government will undoubtedly pursue similar measures.”