Saturday 4th March 2017
12pm Tavistock Square, London.
Our NHS is under threat from Tory cuts and privatisation. This year the Red Cross have warned of humanitarian disaster in the NHS. Investment is needed for this vital institution but instead the government are cutting drastically. £22bn is being cut from the NHS in England under the secretive STP cuts. We don't yet know exactly where the £300m+ cuts in the Bristol area will hit but other areas have already announced hospital closures. The Tory government is pushing the NHS toward privatisation so their rich mates can grab a slice of the profits to be made from illness. There is already a creeping privatisation in the health service, with private companies operating at a profit to provide services behind the NHS logo. Recently Richard Branson's Virgin health company took over NHS contracts worth £700m in the Bath area.
This national demonstration is vital, we must send the message loud and clear:
Save our NHS! No cuts, no closures, no privatisation!
Coach tickets from Bristol can either be booked via Unison or UNITE Trade Unions (non-members welcome) or The People's Assembly:
Unison Area Health Branch:
UNITE Bristol Area Health Branch:
(UNITE and Unison both free for members with a £5 returnable deposit or £10 charge for non-members)
The People's Assembly at a cost of £6-£10 at:
Further information about the demo can be found at:
Below an NHS nurse and Socialist Party member explains why they are going on the march:
We're seeing almost daily headlines announcing the NHS is in crisis. From overstretched A&Es, to patients left on trolleys, to staff morale being at an all-time low - our NHS is at breaking point.
The Tories' empty promises in 2010 that the NHS was 'safe in their hands' have been broken time and time again. A real time pay cut of 25% since 2010 has left some NHS staff relying on food banks. Our commitment to caring for our patients is continuously exploited. The jokes about nurses going whole shifts without time for a toilet break are becoming an increasing reality.
We're seeing mass privatisation of services - including those on the frontline. Proposed closures of hospitals, specialist services and A&Es are provoking thousands to go onto the streets in disgust.
The future is one of either fight or be trampled. The mood is gathering among health workers to come down firmly on the side of fighting back. The inspirational struggle of the junior doctors has given confidence to others in the NHS.
The campaign against the pay freeze is now to be debated in parliament after an online petition hit over 100,000 signatures. Despite the attacks from the right-wing media aiming to undermine faith in the NHS, working class people still see it as the jewel in the crown. And despite massive cuts, staff still deliver an overwhelmingly good quality of care.
The national demonstration on 4 March is vital. It's a chance to bring together the hundreds of local campaigns across the country into the national spotlight. It's a chance to show the government that we will fight for our health service.
I'll be marching to defend the NHS for the working class today and for future generations. I'll be marching because NHS workers deserve more than a continuous pay freeze and because the patients I and other NHS workers care for deserve better.