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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 July 2007

Action needed to save the NHS

HOSPITAL CAMPAIGNERS People United Saving Hospitals (PUSH) organised protests on 5 July, the 59th anniversary of the national health service. They intend to make sure the NHS reaches its 60th birthday without any more cuts, closures or privatisations.

VANESSA GEE, national chair of PUSH, told the socialist: "We handed in eight letters from health campaigners to the department of health, protesting at cuts in places like Oxford, Kendal, Nuneaton, etc.

"By chance, we met Ben Bradshaw, a minister under Alan Johnson, Brown's health secretary. We told him we had written to ask for meetings with his predecessor Patricia Hewitt. She had never replied but merely redirected letters to the local hospital that campaigners had written to a hundred times!

"We asked him what he thought about Gordon Brown's speech at prime minister's question time where he said the NHS would be one of his 'main priorities'. We asked what he meant by priority. Was it just changing policies a bit and re-arranging the figures? Or did he mean he'd stop attacking and privatising our NHS? Ben Bradshaw could not comment.

"PUSH now wants a meeting with Alan Johnson. Any hospital campaign groups that want to can email me on vanesgee@gmail.com for the attention of Alan Johnson, explaining what their local issues are and requesting a meeting with him.

"We can then hand in these letters to the Department of Health. PUSH will keep a log of all letters going to Johnson and whether we get a reply. We'll be naming and shaming government figures! Then we need to make sure that it's not just words, that real changes are coming."

THERE HAVE been some brilliant local health service victories, such as that in Swansea (see right) where campaigners have been willing to fight. However, a national struggle is still vital, preferably led by the trade unions. But if the union leaders continue to delay on organising such a campaign, Keep Our NHS Public (KONHSP) along with PUSH, need to do so.

We urgently need a programme of national activity - which aims to give leadership to the disparate local campaigns - and escalates action at each stage in the run-up to the UNISON union's proposed demonstration on 13 October and after it.

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In The Socialist 12 July 2007:

Fighting low pay, defending jobs and services

Victory to the postal workers

Public support for Post Office counters strike


National Shop Stewards Network

Bob Crow calls for new party

National Shop Stewards Network conference: A good starting point for strengthening struggle


Socialist Party workplace news

TGWU/Unite conference delegates cheer call for action on anti-trade union laws

Urgent appeal for solidarity from contract workers at the Gualberto Villarroel oil refinery in Cochabamba, Bolivia


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Action needed to save the NHS

Campaign saves Swansea hospital unit

Sussex must fight back against NHS cuts

Durham health cuts show need for new workers' party


Wales

Wales Assembly coalition no answer to workers' problems

Cardiff: Fight school cuts and closures


Tales from the council chambers

Nurseries campaign embarrasses councillors

Southall Labour councillors cross floor

Council workers make a stand


Marxist analysis: history

The 'July days' - rich in lessons for today


Socialist Party news and analysis

London Underground derailment: Kick out dangerous profiteers!

Kwik Save workers betrayed by bosses and union


Socialist Party events

Socialist Party Youth and students


Socialist Party review

Political discourse can swing!


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: union leaders call off biggest-ever strike

Slave-labour scandal in China


 

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