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Final Call! Let’s show how much we love our NHS

AUGUST 10, 2018

Let’s show we value and cherish our NHS and reject attack on the quality of our health services! Join us on Saturday March 4th in London.

I am stilling reeling from result of the Copeland by election last week in Cumbria.  Labour lost the election despite its principal campaigning message was about the downgrading of the Maternity Unit at the West Cumberland Hospital.  Downgrading the maternity would mean only the low risk births would take place at West Cumberland Hospital and expectant mothers and their families would have to travel 40 miles and up to 2 hours to the nearest consultant led Maternity service in Carlisle, if the birth was potentially high risk or if there was an emergency situation.  That journey would be a matter of life and death for babies and their mothers and would represent an erosion of the health service in this part of North West England. 

But this is not just happening in Cumbria, downgrading and closing of services is occurring all over England as a result of the NHS England’s Sustainability Transformation Plans (STP).  There are 44 foot prints covering the whole of England, where NHS England, the Health body sanction by the Department of Health and responsible for over £98 billion of Health Service funding, have asked various health bodies like NHS Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups (these decide what health services are needed in a local area and award contracts to provide these services) and local authorities to come together to produce a plan for health services till 2020. It may sound pleasing that various bodies can collaborate to together to improve health care for everyone, but this masks the fact the 44 STPs have been asked to ensure their plans are financial efficient in the face of £22 billion of cuts the NHS will be expected to make between 2015 and 2020. 

STP means slash, trash and privatise to Unite members in the Health sector and we will campaign against them since we believe the NHS is being set up to fail with these amount of cuts and when the NHS does stumble, critics will call for the NHS to be privatised and for families to contribute to a social insurance scheme, so our health service is not universal, being free at the point of access and care as it currently is now.  The NHS is being starved of funds, historically, funding for the NHS since 1948 has increased at an average of 3.8%, currently the NHS budget is expected to rise until 2020, by 1% per year meaning spending as a percentage of our national income will fall.  Want to know what a privatised health care system looks like?  In the USA, an annual insurance premium for the average American family was $18142 per year in 2016 or £14579 or around £1215 per month[1].  Join us on the Saturday 4 March in London from 12pm to show your support for the NHS and demand the Government in its’ budget statement on Wednesday 8 March properly fund health and social care to stop this crisis and ensure STPs are not about Slashing Trashing and Privatising.

If you wish to travel on Saturday, transport is still available from all over the country.   Check out http://www.unitetheunion.org/campaigning/events/its-our-nhs-national-demonstration/  for the contact details of the groups arranging free or subsidised transport to London for the demonstration.  Bring your whistles as well as good cheer, for what promises to be a remarkable day!


[1] http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/health-insurance-premiums.aspx

This blog was written for Unite in Our Society by Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, National Officer for Unite the Union with responsibility for Health.

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