Save our NHS

Vote for a socialist candidate prepared to fight

Vote TUSC on 5 May

Richard Gingell, Black Country Socialist Party

Whether rich or poor, one thing is certain – eventually you’re going to get ill or injured. Over six million patients are currently on NHS waiting lists and if you are poor, you won’t be able to fork out to go private.

We’ve all witnessed the ruination of the NHS in some way. Ambulances being turned away, a lack of availability for mental health support, and months of waiting for even the simplest of referrals.

My own experiences with the NHS in the past few years reflect this reality. Recently my elderly mother-in-law had a fall after a suspected stroke. After an hour waiting for an ambulance we received a call back advising us it would be another four, and that we might want to make our own arrangements.

No problem, she seemed better so we took her into A&E for a better look. After a four-hour wait she finally received a CT scan that confirmed there was no stroke, but her blood pressure was low, she was still dizzy and may have been suffering a concussion. The doctor wanted further tests but, after another exhausting eight hours wait with no food in a crowded waiting-room, we decided to take her home to rest instead.

The Socialist Party campaigns about the NHS a lot, usually against its chronic underfunding and privatisation at the hands of the Tory government.

But of those six million plus on waiting lists, how many of us are supposedly ‘represented’ by Labour politicians in Parliament and in their councils? Far from taking the fight to the Tories to defend health and care services, Labour politicians have been carrying out cuts and privatisation too!

When voters go to the polls on 5 May to vote in the local elections, we deserve the option to vote for a candidate who is willing to stand up for the working class and do all they can to help defend the NHS. That’s why the Socialist Party is standing candidates as part of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

Fighting socialist councillors would use their elected position to help build campaigns to demand the funding our health services need. Councils must use all their powers to give working-class communities a say in NHS decision making, this includes initiating referendums, and retaining and referring decisions to prevent service closures and privatisation.

With enormous financial reserves and borrowing powers, a council willing to take on the government for the money in the long-term could introduce policies now in the interests of our health. It could fund free access to leisure facilities, offer healthy free school meals to all children, and provide high-quality health and social care services for the elderly, disabled, and all those who need them, with care workers on decent pay.

Use your vote on 5 May to vote for a councillor who fights for the NHS. Vote TUSC and join the fightback.