Marching to Save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Marching to Save the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Steve Score, Leicester Socialist Party and Save Glenfield campaign

The NHS is in crisis. Hospitals cancelled a record number of urgent operations last year, mainly because of bed shortages. One in six A&E departments faces closure or downgrading because of NHS cuts.

So you would think that NHS England (NHSE) would want to defend its success stories like the East Midlands Congenital Heart Centre at Glenfield Hospital – especially when it got ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ ratings from the Care Quality Commission only in the last couple of weeks.

Despite NHSE claiming its proposal is nothing to do with austerity, the background to the threatened closure is £22 billion of cuts in the NHS budget (England) that are being imposed by the Tory government.


Thousands of children’s lives are saved by the expertise of staff there. Children born with heart defects could need treatment into their adult lives. To close it will have devastating effects across the region and beyond.

But NHSE’s proposals do not add up! It says Glenfield doesn’t carry out enough operations, yet the hospital is on track to reach its target number. They say it’s about achieving ‘standards’, but Glenfield has been praised as having “excellent outcomes”. It is the leading UK centre for certain treatments.

A massive campaign to save Glenfield has been built – including patients and their families, clinicians and many other people.

Trade unions have also given their support – in particular, Unite, whose general secretary Len McCluskey will be speaking at 11 February demo (see below).

Recently, school students in 25 schools across Leicestershire and beyond took part in a day of action for the heart unit with the support of staff. They came to school wearing red, made posters and placards.

Assemblies were held explaining what the heart centre does and the democratic right to protest. Material was sent home to parents.

130,000 people have signed our petition, either online or the paper version, over the last six months.

We want to make our feelings felt on Saturday 11 February, when we will be marching again through the streets of Leicester demanding the centre is saved. Last October over a thousand marched – we want more this time!

Many of us will be following this up by going as a Save Glenfield contingent on the national demo to defend the NHS on 4 March.

March to Save Glenfield Children’s Heart Centre

  • Meet at 11am, on Saturday 11 February, at the corner of Granville Road and Regent Road, Leicester, LE1 7PA
  • March to Jubilee Square for Rally at 12.45pm

‘It’s Our NHS’ national demo

  • Saturday 4 March – 12noon at Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9EU