Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/446/5301
Manchester marches to defend the NHS
TWO "TOP doctors" resign, two private hospitals open to compete with the NHS, two hundred on the march... This is Manchester's NHS in 2006.
Hugh Caffrey Manchester
The 24 June demonstration against one-in-ten job losses across northern Greater Manchester was called by Keep Our NHS Public and UNISON branches. 200 health workers and activists marched, chanting against the job cuts. Young people and passers-by eagerly joined the demo.
We built strongly for this demonstration, distributing hundreds of leaflets at Manchester Royal and in Wythenshawe - exposing the government agenda to break up the NHS, urging people to attend the demo and the launch of Save Our Baby Unit (SOBU).
The Evening News interviewed Socialist Party members Lynn Worthington for SOBU and Andrew Billson-Page, chair of Kendal NHS-SOS. Demonstrators took bundles of our leaflets to distribute - one lady taped our "Defend Our NHS" poster to her back! We sold about 50 copies of the socialist.
There's an urgent need to build a mass organised movement. On the same day, the head of Rochdale Primary Care Trust (PCT) - affected by the job losses - resigned saying "The use of private providers will ultimately force PCTs to close as they will become unviable and will destroy the NHS as we know it."
Days earlier, the region's 'top doc' "decided to step down rather than face a fifth departmental reorganisation" and two new private hospitals announced their profiteering plans. Ironically this "top doc" plans a future in politics - in the Labour Party!
We plan a future of fighting back! Marching with Socialist Party banners, having gained many signatures for the Campaign for a New Workers Party we could see the possibility for a growing movement.
We'll work for more demonstrations, discuss the case for industrial action, and especially target New Labour's conference in Manchester in September. If the "top doc" joins that party of lies and cuts - we'll see him there!
West Midlands march to defend the NHS
Saturday 15 July. Assemble 11am at City Hospital, Dudley Road, Birmingham.
In The Socialist 29 June 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party campaigns
Socialist Party workplace news and analysis