Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/458/5501
Protests at health cuts
OVER 1,000 people marched in Huntingdon on 7 October to protest against the closure of Hinchinbrooke Hospital which provides a service for 150,000 in the area.
For the people of Huntingdon their alternative will be Addenbrookes in Cambridge travelling on the congested A14 into the even more congested Cambridge. One young mother told me that neither she nor her baby would be alive today without the hospital as they would not have got her to Addenbrookes in time to save them both.
People were queuing to sign our petition. 28 papers were sold and £40 collected in less than an hour.
A DETERMINED group of around 60 trade unionists, NHS workers, patients and Socialist Party members marched through Southampton on 7 October to raise public awareness of plans to set up a local Independent Sector Treatment Centre (ISTC).
The local NHS trust wants the privately owned centre to be established at the city's Royal South Hants Hospital by late 2007.
Organised by Southampton Keep Our NHS Public, the demo attracted local media coverage to draw attention to the creeping privatisation of the health service. Onlookers joined the march as it proceeded, showing the strength of feeling amongst local people.
The demo also helped build support for the 1 November national lobby of parliament and speakers at the rally called for a second, larger march and rally in Southampton to follow this.
Southampton City Council UNISON sent a message of support - they are also facing a fight against privatisation of services, cuts and closures.
Jamie Davis, Southampton Socialist Party and Hampshire Police UNISON
IN THE pouring rain, 200 people marched to Redditch hospital in the west Midlands on 5 October protesting at proposed cuts in services.
Trust bosses plan to reduce A&E services to an "8 til late" service and close maternity and children's wards.
This seems to be happening to hospitals across the West Midlands region.
The trust barred staff from participating in any protest, leaving them to wave their support from windows.
Marchers pointed the finger at the Trust and the government for trying to run down local services. PFI alone, through the scheme in Worcester, is already stripping Worcestershire's NHS of over £5 million a year for no extra benefit.
Neil Stote of the Save the Alex action group (www.savethealex.co.uk) was pleased with the turnout.
"This fight seems to have been going on forever," he said. "We fought these cuts last December and in April. We want basic local services for basic local needs. We don't want cuts. At which point will they listen?"
Protesters felt that national action was needed against cuts and privatisation.
In The Socialist 12 October 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news