Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 February 2017

Demonstrating against NHS cuts at Whipps Cross hospital, photo Paul Mattsson

Demonstrating against NHS cuts at Whipps Cross hospital, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Build a movement to save our NHS

Campaign, strike, occupy

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack

NHS workers marching in Manchester, 4.10.15, photo Sarah Wrack   (Click to enlarge)

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary

As we all know, our health service is already in a critical condition - driven to breaking point by cuts, closures and privatisation. The national demonstration on 4 March is an important step forward in the battle to save it.

Now we need to use it as a springboard to build a massive movement that can defeat the Tory government's attempt to finish off the NHS.

The government is driving to cut 22 billion from the NHS by 2020, on top of the 15 billion cut last parliament. They are attempting to cover up these latest cuts by hiding them under the guise of 'sustainability and transformation plans' (STPs).

We have to expose the con - STPs are about nothing more than slashing, trashing and privatising our NHS. The King's Fund think-tank has already said two-thirds of all STP plans will involve cuts and closures of hospitals.

But the Tories are weak and can be beaten. Unelected as prime minister - with a wafer-thin majority in parliament - Theresa May could find the STPs are her 'poll tax'.

Her role model, Maggie Thatcher, was thrown out of office along with her hated poll tax, after 18 million refused to pay it. This movement was led by the Socialist Party (then called Militant).

The anti-poll tax movement brought together wide sections of working class and middle class people, in rural as well as urban areas. The same potential exists for a movement in defence of our NHS.

Picture Alan Hardman

Picture Alan Hardman   (Click to enlarge)


From the 4 March demonstration we need to build local campaign groups in all 44 STP areas, brought together under a national umbrella, as Health Campaigns Together has begun to do. As a next step, Health Campaigns Together should name the day for a nationwide day of protest, calling on local trade unions to join the campaigns.

We should build 44 massive local demonstrations on the same day to stamp on the STPs! That should be followed by a Trade Union Congress (TUC) national demonstration to save the NHS - mobilised for by all trade unions and by the Labour leadership.

Labour can play a vital role in building this movement. It is good that Jeremy Corbyn plans to address the demo. Now he should use his position as Labour leader to campaign for a mass movement to renationalise the NHS.

Such a stand would help give people confidence to fight back, and make clear to millions the advantages of an anti-austerity Labour leader.

Jeremy should also call on the 100 or so Labour-led councils to stop making cuts now, including cuts to social care, and to reject their local STP; STPs include local authorities. So far a handful has done so, but if every Labour council was to publicly oppose its local STP, the whole thing would become unworkable.

The heroic strike action taken by junior doctors, who had huge popular support, gave a glimpse of the possibility of striking to defend the NHS. Unfortunately, the TUC and the leaders of the other health unions did not organise the necessary solidarity action in support of the doctors' stand.

The 4 March demonstration has been backed by the major health trade unions - in the case of Unison, the largest health union, as a result of sustained pressure from its members. But that is only a beginning of what is needed.


As well as helping to build demonstrations and community campaigns to save our NHS, which can raise the confidence of health workers, health trade unions need to prepare to organise coordinated strikes to break the pay freeze and stop the huge cuts and closures. Occupations to stop closures can also play an important role.

The Socialist Party calls for a comprehensive, high-quality NHS, under democratic control, with care free at the point of use. To do this we need to take all elements of the health service into public ownership, to stop private companies profiting from our ill health.

We need to reverse the Tory privatisation drive, and scrap the 'private finance initiative' and all other forms of privatisation that New Labour expanded massively when it was in government. The outsourced 'independent sector treatment centres' should be brought back under NHS ownership and control.

At the same time, the social care sector should be brought into democratic public ownership and properly funded. The pharmaceutical companies that make billions from our ill health should also be nationalised. Pharmaceutical products currently cost the NHS in England about 13% of its budget annually, about 16 billion.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 28 February 2017:

Save #OurNHS

Build a movement to save our NHS

Reinstate the bursaries for student nurses now!

Grantham: 1,000 march for reopening of A&E

NHS England missing paperwork scandal

Heart centre closure consultation 'farce'


Socialist Party women

International Women's Day

Women's protests and walkouts around the world

Lessons of Russia 1917 for women's struggle today

Why I joined the Socialist Party

How black women fought racism and sexism at Nasa

Fight like Poplar's women councillors to change the lives of family carers

What we think

Byelections: Break with Labour Blairism wasn't on offer

Socialist Party feature

Debates on building the anti-Trump movement

Workplace news and analysis

"I worked from 9am to 11.30pm with only one break"

Warehouse workers walk out over pay and pensions

Derby teaching assistants continue fight against 6,000 a year pay cut

Picturehouse strikers blockade Leicester Square

Ford workers demand answers to Bridgend plant sourcing questions

Hearing into alleged rule-breaking by Unison ends

Leeds: Protest against tip stealing

Mixed Fleet cabin crew announce more strike days

RMT plans protest against 'driver only' Merseyrail trains

Southern Rail strike continues

May Day greetings in the Socialist

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Unions demand that Corbyn-supporting mayor protects services

Bristol cuts: the fight goes on

Tower Hamlets: There is an alternative, Mr Biggs

Spelthorne: we need socialist councillors

York University: socialists prevent far-right hate speech

Socialist Party Wales conference report

Northern region Socialist Party conference

Socialist readers' comments and reviews

The Socialist Inbox

What we saw


Home   |   The Socialist 28 February 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleCampaigners continue to demand Chorley A&E is fully reopened

triangleSocialist Party congress 2018

triangleLeaked pay deal: fight for a genuine pay rise

triangleNHS: public health - not private profit

triangleHands Off HRI campaign group meets Corbyn and Ashworth


triangleWhat's behind the surge in eating disorders?

triangleTories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

triangleTragic death exposes criminal understaffing of NHS

triangleNHS - build the fightback


triangleSalford Socialist Party: The history of the Labour movement in Ireland

triangleRussia, spies and nerve agents

triangleLeicester: Blairites block Labour Party democracy


triangleSwansea Labour council votes for cuts

triangleProfits up Wages down


triangleSalford nurseries consultation delayed

Trade unions:

triangleToys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs


triangleMay's EU speech kicks the can down the road


triangleNHS we're ready to fight


triangleFailing academy chain strips school assets - end academisation!

Public ownership:

triangleMcDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands


triangleThem and us


trianglePrivate profit out of our NHS

Hannah Sell:

triangleCapitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis



Russia, spies and nerve agents



Zero new homes 'affordable' in Blairite Manchester



Spring Statement 2018: Tory austerity staggers on despite economic and political weakness


What we saw

What we saw



Sainsbury's raise really a cut: fight for 10 with no strings!



Profits up Wages down



Determined UCU strikers: We're out to win!



Capitalism oppresses women - fight for socialism!


Them & Us

Them & Us



Women's oppression: the struggle goes on



Snow chaos showed the bosses' coldness - but also workers' grit



May's EU speech kicks the can down the road



Toys R Us, Maplin: worsening retail crisis claims more jobs



Corbyn's customs union dividing line: now stand firm for pro-worker Brexit



Corbynism shows 'Clause IV' still relevant a hundred years on

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018