Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/506/3286
The Socialist 17 October 2007 |
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Save our NHS
10,000 march in Sussex
TEN THOUSAND people marched in Haywards Heath in rural Sussex on 13 October. They were opposing cuts in Accident and Emergency services and Maternity care at Princess Royal Hospital, reflecting the strength of feeling across the country over the cutting of the NHS.
The Medical Care Research Unit's Sheffield Survey came to the conclusion that "Increased journey distance to hospital appears to be associated with increased risk of mortality… a 10km increase in straight-line distance is associated with around a 1% absolute increase in mortality." To put it another way, more people will die.
Both major parties aim to cut NHS spending. The Conservative MPs for Sussex hypocritically opposed cuts at Princess Royal. But they promise massive tax cuts, which can only mean cutting services and so-called "efficiency savings".
When they were in power the Tories cut the NHS. Thatcher openly boasted she could get "the doctor she wanted at the time she wanted" because she could afford to pay.
As for New Labour, their spokesmen's instant response to the Sheffield Survey was to say the data – the most up-to-date available – was "out of date" and that the situation had improved since the survey was conducted.
There were Unison banners on the march and the local Unison branch is in the forefront of the campaign. Unfortunately Unison's national leaders remain soft on New Labour and soft on the causes of New Labour. They continue to pour members' money into a party which attacks their members.