From the TUC

Save Our NHS and ease the pressure on health workers

26 Sep 2013, By

Photo of someone holding their back, with red pressure area

Donnie Anderton, an NHS physiotherapist and union rep for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, discusses the impact that service cuts and ‘rationing care’ has had in his field of work and explains why he’ll be marching on Sunday.

I’ll cut to the chase: Sunday’s demonstration in Manchester is about the future of the NHS. It’s about being able to continue providing a health service that is universal and free at the point of need. It’s about properly funding the NHS to ensure the care that is provided continues to be world class and not dependent on your postcode or ability to pay. It’s about having sufficient staff to provide that quality of care, making patient safety paramount. It’s about providing quality employment to ensure the staff delivering that care remain the brightest and the best, and morale can be restored. And it’s about providing for a dignified retirement that reflects the gratitude of the country for a career spent in public service.

Some media commentators may question the need for such an event. But I’ll tell you that as a physiotherapist working in the NHS – the need to press the case for an alternative is urgent and it is essential

In my profession, we are seeing cuts to services, recruitment freezes and lengthening waiting times. We are being asked to see more patients with fewer physiotherapists and in shorter time slots.

This is significantly affecting the quality of patient care.

The marketisation of community services like physiotherapy – known as the any qualified provider model – has led to care being rationed and patients missing out.

In the worse case that we’ve seen, physios were not even allowed to provide hands-on treatment; advice and guidance was was offered up in exchange. Well, let me give the government some advice and guidance:

  • Halt the massive expansion of private sector involvement in the NHS.
  • Restore the NHS as the preferred provider of mainstream health services.
  • End the financial crisis that is costing patients the chance to get better, leaving services badly short-staffed and threatening the future of an institution that is cherished by the nation.
  • And finally, stop the scapegoating of the health service’s magnificent staff, who are delivering services under almost unimaginable pressure but continuing to do so with great skill and dedication.

Sunday’s demonstration allows us to make those arguments passionately, noisily and directly to the people pulling the levers of power.

Join me and thousands of others on Sunday calling for an end to this destruction.

Can you join us on 29 September, or help support the march online? Sign up here

Donnie will be speaking with a panel of NHS workers at the rally on Sunday. To find out more about the rally, including how to get there, visit