Halton campaigners force U-turn over NHS privatisation

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson

Nurses marching for the NHS, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Ste Armstrong, Warrington, St Helens and Halton Socialist Party

Working-class people in Halton are celebrating after NHS bosses were forced to abandon plans to hand the local urgent care contract to a private company. This followed a rapid and determined response by campaigners including local Socialist Party members.

The original plans were to include charging for elective operations like hip replacements and breast reductions (see – ‘Charging scandal in Warrington and Halton NHS Trust‘).

What this amounts to is people ‘choosing’ to live in pain because they cannot afford operations which should be provided free.

This was quickly dropped, but shortly after it was announced that a “preferred bidder” for the urgent care had been found.

A coalition of Socialist Party members and other left-wing groups organised a rally outside Warrington and Halton Hospitals as well as other locations across Runcorn and Widnes, uniting the local community in opposition to these plans.


While we should welcome this small victory, we should be wary of the wording of the statement by the trust, which said that these services will continue to be provided by the NHS “in the interim”.

The Socialist Party will continue to put pressure on the NHS, local politicians and the Tory government to announce a permanent end to the privatisation of healthcare provision in Halton and throughout the country.

We want a properly funded NHS that ensures treatment free for all, based on need and not on the ability to pay. And we fight for a socialist government which puts the needs of working-class people before profit and the rich.