Hundreds march for the NHS in Leamington
Hundreds of people staged a lively and spirited march through Leamington on Sunday in defence of the NHS.
They reflect a growing alarm amongst ever wider parts of British society that their NHS is under threat from under staffing and under funding and is under attack from this government.
Local services face cutbacks from the so-called ‘Sustainability and Transformation Plans’ (STP’s) that guest speaker Dr Youssef el Gingihy rightly called the ‘Slash Trash and Privatise’ plans.
The march was organised by South Warwickshire Keep our NHS Public and was supported by parents campaigning against cuts to their school budgets.
As the crowd gathered by the park bandstand, they heard organiser Anna Pollert say that the march had been a follow up to the huge national demonstration in defence of the NHS that took place on March 4th, but that now, the recent calling of the general election had made the issue of defending the NHS as a public service even more urgent.
Other speakers included health workers, Councillor Matt Western, school staff and a 12 year old school student.
Dr El Gingihy, author of the book “How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps”, explained that in legal terms the NHS had already been abolished. There are still GP’s and hospitals but underneath it has been changed. In the ‘dark days’ of the 90’s the creation of markets and introduction of private finance was preparation to end the NHS as we know it.
They now plan to reduce 7,500 GP surgeries to only 1500 and reduce the number of A&E hospitals to between only 40-70. The last parliament removed government responsibility to provide health care and now ever greater parts of the NHS were being sold off to corporations to make profits from illness. This he explained was paving the way for a private insurance system on the US model.
Outlining the cuts of £40 billion planned to be made by the early 2020’s, Youssef also reminded us of the one positive thing. That we can change this! That we must mobilise.
The huge demonstration in March and the energy in this protest in Leamington show that we will not let our NHS be stolen from future generations without a fight. The growing number of local protests and of local campaigning groups shows that the potential to beat the profiteers and maintain top notch health care is there.
Whatever the result on June 8, whether we will need to resist the Tory government or campaign to ensure Jeremy Corbyn can stand up to powerful financial interests, we are going to need to campaign, to mobilise and to fight to defend our NHS.