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From The Socialist newspaper, 1 February 2017

NHS nurse: why I'm joining the 4 March demo

Marching to Save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Marching to Save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Fight for our health service!

Matt Whale, nurse

We're seeing almost daily headlines announcing the NHS is in crisis. From overstretched A&Es, to patients left on trolleys, to staff morale being at an all-time low - our NHS is at breaking point.

The Tories' empty promises in 2010 that the NHS was 'safe in their hands' have been broken time and time again. A real time pay cut of 25% since 2010 has left some NHS staff relying on food banks. Our commitment to caring for our patients is continuously exploited. The jokes about nurses going whole shifts without time for a toilet break are becoming an increasing reality.

We're seeing mass privatisation of services - including those on the frontline. Proposed closures of hospitals, specialist services and A&Es are provoking thousands to go onto the streets in disgust.

The future is one of either fight or be trampled. The mood is gathering among health workers to come down firmly on the side of fighting back. The inspirational struggle of the junior doctors has given confidence to others in the NHS.

The campaign against the pay freeze is now to be debated in parliament after an online petition hit over 100,000 signatures. Despite the attacks from the right-wing media aiming to undermine faith in the NHS, working class people still see it as the jewel in the crown. And despite massive cuts, staff still deliver an overwhelmingly good quality of care.

The national demonstration on 4 March is vital. It's a chance to bring together the hundreds of local campaigns across the country into the national spotlight. It's a chance to show the government that we will fight for our health service.

I'll be marching to defend the NHS for the working class today and for future generations. I'll be marching because NHS workers deserve more than a continuous pay freeze and because the patients I and other NHS workers care for deserve better.

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In The Socialist 1 February 2017:


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