Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/12071

Posted on 20 May 2011 at 15:12 GMT

NHS demo in London needs to be a step towards united national strike action

March to save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

March to save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

2,000 people marched with London 'Keep Our NHS Public' on Tuesday 17 May. Several NHS trusts across London have announced big cuts.

For example, Barts hospital and the London hospital in the East End plan to cut 635 jobs.

The Royal Free hospital in West London plans 450 job cuts. It has just been announced that Whipps Cross hospital in East London plans to cut over 140.

The government may claim to have paused their plans in order to 'listen', but on the ground there is no pause. Whole community units have closed, such as services for eating disorders in south London.

The demonstration brought together nurses, porters, domestics, doctors, student nurses, medical students, therapists and mental health nurses. At the Socialist Party stalls, a constant stream of health workers and passers-by stopped to sign our petition calling for united action to defend the NHS, involving trade unions, anti-cuts campaigns and services users.

Demonstrations like this are important. But everyone on the demonstration knew that more serious action is needed to defend the NHS.

Whether or not the Health and Social Services Bill goes through, the cuts, closures and privatisation will continue.

But the Bill proposes worse: in effect, that the government will no longer have a legal duty to provide the health service in England. As David Cameron's senior health adviser, Mark Britnell, has blurted out, instead of being a provider of a universal health service, the state will be the provider of health insurance.

Therefore what is also important is a clear, determined strategy.

The National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) leaflets, which were snapped up by marchers, laid out what is necessary. It was the pressure of the organised working class which led to the creation of the NHS in the first place, and it is the potential power of millions of trade unionists linked up with patients and communities that can defend the NHS now.

The NSSN leaflet said: "A real strategy of strike action, starting with health workers and reaching out for support to the wider union movement, would really put the Con-Dems in the corner".

It is important that trade unionists argue for this strategy, as there are risks with the approach of some health campaigns at the moment. Just as it was a mistake, made by some local anti-cuts alliances, to promote Labour councillors who were voting for cuts as 'leaders' of the anti-cuts movement, so it is also a mistake to foster illusions in Labour politicians who have supported the previous Labour government's policies on the NHS.

The fight to defend the NHS is a fight against marketisation, PFI and all such policies pursued with vigour by the Labour government.

As Len Hockey, Socialist Party member and Unison joint branch secretary at Whipps Cross hospital (speaking in a personal capacity) explained to the demonstration, there has been cross-party consensus (between the three main political parties) to dismantle and privatise the NHS.

We need the strength of organised workers in united national strike action to fight to reverse all cuts and privatisations and bring about a fully-funded, integrated and democratically planned NHS.

Len urged all the marchers to attend the National Shop Stewards Network conference on Saturday 11 June. The issue of the NHS will be an essential part of the conference and the event will be an opportunity for health activists to come together to discuss a serious strategy.

Paula Mitchell, London Socialist Party

This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 2011-05-20 15:12:15 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Health:

triangleSouth London health bosses' cover-up

triangleTotnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangleSave our NHS

triangleGlenfield victory shows people power can save our NHS

triangleVictory: Glenfield Children's Heart Centre saved!

NHS:

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

triangleTyneside walk-in closures postponed after rally

triangleBranson sues NHS: kick out the profiteers

triangleSave Glenfield Children's Heart Centre! Save our NHS!

London:

triangleSix months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangleNewham anti-academies strikes

triangleUnite day of action against blacklisting

Cuts:

triangleBradford campaign to save children's services launched

triangleUni market 'failure', two-year degrees - end cuts, scrap fees!

Hospital:

triangleTyneside to protest against A&E and walk-in cuts

Nurses:

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

14/12/17

Waltham Forest

Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

13/12/17

London

Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

13/12/17

Fracking

Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

13/12/17

Devon

Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

13/12/17

Miners

Tory plan to hold dinner at coal mining museum defeated

13/12/17

Bradford

Bradford campaign to save children's services launched

13/12/17

South London

South London health bosses' cover-up

13/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite day of action against blacklisting

13/12/17

Brighton

Brighton victory

13/12/17

Newham

Newham anti-academies strikes

13/12/17

Tamil Solidarity

Tamil Solidarity and Refugee Rights activists meeting

12/12/17

Woolwich

Support the Crossrail Woolwich walkout

7/12/17

Blacklisting

Unite protest against blacklisting

7/12/17

RMT

Anti-DOO lobby of Liverpool's transport committee

6/12/17

Donald Trump

Mobilise to stop bigoted billionaire Donald Trump's state visit to Britain

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle14 Dec Stop the rotten redevelopment plan, demand residents

triangle13 Dec Six months on - still no justice for Grenfell

triangle13 Dec Movement growing against fracking giant Ineos

triangle13 Dec Totnes MP uses coffin controversy to distract from brutal NHS cuts

triangle13 Dec Trump's incendiary Jerusalem statement reignites Israeli-Palestinian...

triangle13 Dec Labour 'purge' furore really just democracy

EU parliament, Strasbourg

triangle13 Dec Brexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

More ...

triangle18 Dec Leeds Socialist Party: Religion and Socialism

triangle19 Dec Bristol North Socialist Party: Christmas social

triangle21 Dec Wakefield Socialist Party: Socialists and the National Question

triangle6 Jan Socialist Party national women's meeting

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2