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7 February 2018

NHS day of action: all around the country

Exeter

The rally attracted a crowd of over 300 from all areas - Torbay, Barnstaple, Okehampton and Honiton. The Socialist Party sold 40 copies of the Socialist and over 100 badges - at times queues formed to sign our petition.

The Blairite local MP, Ben Bradshaw, did not turn up - to no one's surprise, given his recent support for 'accountable care organisation' - the next step in privatisation.

Sean Brogan, Exeter Socialist Party

Warrington

Despite cold and wet conditions, over 200 people made the effort outside Warrington Hospital.

Protest organiser Angela Walsh of the local Momentum group said: "We want a properly funded, publicly owned health service, free at the point of use for all. It was fantastic to see so many people, from young kids to nans and grandads, come down here and show their support for the NHS."

We had queues of people waiting to sign the Socialist Party petition and vent their anger over the crisis. No one believes Tory lies about investment or staffing levels.

Ste Armstrong, Warrington and St Helens Socialist Party

Southampton

About 200 people came to the rally in Southampton despite the very wet conditions. Queues formed to sign our petition. We sold 25 copies of the Socialist.

There was a mood for action. People we spoke to could clearly see the dire state of the health service was a precursor to the Tories handing over more services to the private sector so their friends could line their pockets at our expense.

One of the speakers at the event was the Labour councillor Sarah Bogle. It was difficult to equate her call to save the NHS with her inability to do anything but implement Tory cuts in the council chamber. We need a mass movement to end all cuts and there can be no exceptions.

Jane Ward, Southampton Socialist Party

Leicester

Around 150 people from across Leicestershire gathered, defying the chilling wind and icy rain.

Outside the Leicester Royal Infirmary, jubilant speakers from the successful Save Glenfield Children's Heart Centre campaign made it clear it is only through the collective action of the working class that we can save the NHS.

Mike Barker, Leicester East Socialist Party

Leeds

Despite yet another dismal winter drizzle, around 150 people joined the protest outside the Leeds General Infirmary.

Socialist Party and Socialist Students members had run stalls over the last few weeks to build for the demo, and some local branches of the Labour Party had mobilised their membership, as well as contingents from the RCN and GMB unions.

The Socialist Party ran a petition against plans to establish 'special purpose vehicles' in local trusts, privatising non-medical staff. Many people commented they agreed with the slogan "kick out the privatisers" on the front page of the Socialist, with 23 copies sold on the demo.

Iain Dalton, Leeds Socialist Party

Huddersfield

Over 100 residents of Huddersfield attended a demonstration outside Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as part of the coordinated day of action called by Health Campaigns Together and the People's Assembly. We sold 14 copies of the Socialist on the "kick out the privatisers" front page.

Despite the wintry weather spirits were high. A Conservative councillor sent his apologies - and a message saying there is no crisis in the NHS and it isn't at threat of privatisation! The laughs of the protesters showed how much they believed him.

Michaela Bower, Huddersfield Socialist Party

Middlesborough

Over 100 people assembled outside James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, organised in just a couple of weeks by new Labour Party activists.

The rally was addressed by the local Labour MP Andy McDonald and Unite union full-time officials. One of the officials was shouted down with cries of "tax the rich" when he said his solution to the NHS crisis is increasing National Insurance contributions!

The Socialist Party leaflet was warmly received and we sold 15 copies of the Socialist.

Alan Docherty, Teesside Socialist Party

Sheffield

Around 50 attended Sheffield's NHS protest outside the Hallamshire Hospital, to oppose the proposed closure of the minor injuries unit there, and the nearby walk-in centre.

Campaigners from Sheffield Save Our NHS, the Socialist Party and Labour agreed to build for a further demo on 3 March.

Alistair Tice, Yorkshire Socialist Party

York

There were 40 people at the hospital demonstrating against secret plans by the local NHS Trust to establish a private company at York Hospital (see page 11). This was in spite of the driving rain.

The Socialist Party was there too, with our petition, and garnered another 158 signatures. The manager of the hospital cafe invited us in to get even more.

Nigel Smith, York Socialist Party

Cardiff

We braved the rain and held an energetic NHS campaign stall in Canton. The working class of Cardiff responded enthusiastically: we sold out of copies of the Socialist and filled pages of petitions!

The mood is here to organise a mass movement to kick out the privatisers, and to fight for an NHS for the millions, not the millionaires.

João Félix, Cardiff West Socialist Party

Peterborough

Five of us travelled together to London from Peterborough, including two Labour Party members we met in the ticket queue.

Almost everyone we spoke to on the demo commented on the limited publicity and organisation from the trade union tops, and said that the demo could easily have been many times larger.

Quite a few thought the limited union input was because many national officials were looking forward to a Corbyn government, which ironically would be more likely if the unions gave extra priority to protests such as this!

Steve Cawley, Peterborough Socialist Party

Salford

All Virgin trains were cancelled around 6pm. One comment was: "Does Branson know it's all people on them coming back from protesting about him taking money from the NHS?"

Sally Griffiths, Salford Socialist Party



http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/26834




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