National 'save our NHS' demo, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch

National ‘save our NHS’ demo, 4.3.17, photo Mary Finch   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

William Jarrett, North Tyneside Socialist Party

Two NHS walk-in centres, and night-time A&E services at North Tyneside General Hospital, face closure. ‘Save North Tyneside NHS’ is holding a public protest and rally against these threats on 2 December.

The campaign formed in November 2016, including Socialist Party members from its inception, after the clinical commissioning group (CCG) announced these cuts. Its pressure forced the CCG to reopen consultation on the closures.

It even exposed the CCG’s chair, Dr John Matthews, as an open admirer of serial privatiser Richard Branson. Save North Tyneside NHS activists asked if Matthews was fulfilling his Hippocratic Oath by executing plans which harm patients.

Local health professionals have revealed serious failings in Northumbria NHS Trust to the campaign. There is increased time waiting for A&E treatment at the flagship facility in distant Cramlington, and a dangerous shortage of ambulance provision.

Present conditions could be disastrous over winter. Treatment waiting times at Cramlington on 24 November were reportedly up to six hours by midnight.

Local Labour MP Mary Glindon – who backed Blairite Owen Smith against Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity leadership – has wished the campaign well. She assures us North Tyneside’s Labour council is doing all it can. But it’s actions, not words, which matter.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell must instruct Labour councils to take a stand against austerity by refusing to sign off on ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ cuts programmes. Doing so could well collapse this divided Tory minority government.

  • The rally will start at 12 noon on 2 December, Bedford Street, North Shields town centre
  • Follow the campaign on Facebook at ‘Save North Tyneside NHS‘ and Twitter @SaveNTNHS