Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/433/5091
Huddersfield trust votes for cuts - but campaign gets stronger
HUDDERSFIELD AND Calderdale Primary Care Trust have ignored local people's protests and voted for vicious cuts in the local health service. Only one or two trust members voted against the proposed moving and slashing of health services.
But the people of Huddersfield, led by the Save Our NHS campaign group, are refusing to give up the services they have paid and worked all their lives for. The unelected, unaccountable trust board have no right to make a decision that affects the lives of thousands of people. Their combined salary - £6.2 million - would go some way to easing the NHS debt.
The trust met on 22 March to vote on the proposals. They were greeted by around 40 members of the Save Our NHS campaign, who have organised three demonstrations over the last four months. Before long it was clear the meeting was a farce, a mere formality before they could officially announce the decision which had been made six months ago.
The presentations were riddled with lies and even some hilarious truths - for example they showed that of the 742 individual letters they received, just eight supported the proposals! Yet the trust sat smugly as furious campaign members heckled. One young man even walked towards the supporters of the move shouting "shame!" at each one - before being dragged out by two of the seven bouncers employed for the meeting.
The decision has not demoralised the campaign, which has collected well over 50,000 signatures. If anything the town seems more intent than ever to fight.
Our next step is to stand candidates in the local elections in three wards. Socialist Party member Dr Jackie Grunsell will be standing in Crossland Moor and Netherton, calling for people to vote as if it were the referendum that the council refused to call.
We also intend to lobby the health secretary and call for the government to overrule the trust's decision on the basis of overwhelming public opposition.
In The Socialist 30 March 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review
Socialist Party campaigns