Hands off our local hospital! March against privatisation…
UNISON Branch Secretary Dawn Downes explains why she and her members at the George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton will be answering the 999 call to save the NHS on 29th September…
We understand that NHS is in a critical condition only too well. George Eliot NHS Trust Board has just entered into an open procurement process which could result in a private company winning a contract to run it. This poses risks and uncertainties for patients, the staff and our local community.
We know that Britain’s health depends upon the very existence of NHS ideals – instilled in its inception on 5 July 1948 under the then Health Minister Nye Bevan – as part of a set of principles to defeat the 5 evils: want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.
We also know it still has enemies who want to crush and suffocate it; people who will put profit before patient care, and drive down pay and cut costs unnecessarily. We don’t want that for our local community in Nuneaton.
The NHS is in a worsening shape. It has haemorrhaged 5,000 staff, waiting lists are rapidly growing, deficits are increasing, and £20bn worth of savings combined with a rush to achieve Foundation Status is pushing hospitals to the brink of closure.
The government’s solution however is to encourage the circling private vultures hovering over George Eliot Trust and other trusts to take them over. We know privatisation is not the answer and we are going to be saying to the Tory Conference, “Oh no you don’t, hands off our George Eliot!”
Health workers are already under extreme pressure, wages and pensions are being eroded, and nurses and doctors are overworked to the point of collapse. Privatisation will only increase these pressures.
It was Nye Bevan, a union activist, who said “The NHS would last as long as there are folk people left with faith to fight for it”, and we at George Eliot Hospital have that faith and we will be fighting to keep it in the NHS.
We believe the NHS was the Labour movement’s greatest advance for our country and will be working with other trade unions, politicians and members of the public to defend it. We want to retain the radical vision the NHS was founded on; free health care at the point of need, delivered by a publically owned and publically funded system.
Don’t let anyone tell you that there isn’t enough money to invest in our NHS. After all we have found money to bail out the banks to a tune of £1.2 trillion, and even paid a £46,000 biscuit bill for Eric Pickles.
We know why we have to rally, we have to reach in to our communities to keep those 5 evils at bay in our modern world so we can look our children in the eye and say that we were the ones with the faith to fight.