The Red Cross has declared a

The Red Cross has declared a “humanitarian crisis” in the NHS, photo (public domain)   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

William Jarrett and Tim Wall, Newcastle Socialist Party

A public ‘engagement’ meeting hosted by North Tyneside’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), conducted by CCG chair Dr John Matthews and Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) lead officer Mark Adams, was held on 16 January.

Many participants were local people rightly concerned by the planned £22 billion of Tory cuts. Already, North Tyneside’s A&E services have been relocated 15 miles away to Cramlington, an area well away from the main area of population.

And three walk-in centres are being merged into one – a massive blow to local services that Save North Tyneside NHS is campaigning to stop from happening in October.

Socialist Party members have played a leading role in the establishment and growth of the Save North Tyneside NHS. In just over two months the campaign has benefited from local and regional media attention, holding two public meetings, and welcoming new activists to its ranks.

STPs rub salt in an open wound, enraging the community. We received applause and cheers when we told Dr Matthews: “You’re shutting two acute hospitals. There’s no mention of that in your fancy graphs. And, what happens if we just say no? We’ll oppose every cut, and we need Labour councillors to refuse to sign off this plan.”

Socialist Party activist John Hoare was greeted with similar enthusiasm. He explained Britain is the sixth wealthiest nation on Earth, and workers pay for a crisis created by establishment politicians and their partners in banking and business, insisting “cancel PFI contracts instead!

A BMA junior doctor and a Unison regional organiser both said their unions had not been properly consulted.

The campaign continues, with another public meeting on 11 February in North Shields library.