On Saturday 1st April, Calderdale and Kirklees 999 Call for the NHS will be joined on the Leeds March for the NHS by 999ers from the North East, Cambridge and Lincolnshire.
In white NHS Detective overalls, they will highlight their forensic investigations into the criminal Sustainability and Transformation Plans. (STP =Switch to Private, Slash Trash and Privatise, Secret Theft Plans. Take your pick!)
999 Call for the NHS will be among thousands of people from Yorkshire and beyond who are converging on Leeds city centre to tell the Government they can’t destroy OUR NHS. The protestors’ demands are:
- an end to the so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans
- the restoration of a comprehensive, universal NHS that is free at the point of clinical need and free of privatisation and marketisation
- sufficient funding for quality health care
There will be a lively vibe from the PCS Samba band from Manchester, the Unite brass band, a group of Leeds folk musicians and a flashmob choir – as well as a missile from CND (NHS Not Trident) and skeletons!
Rough schedule (will depend on numbers )
10.30 marchers start arriving in Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery
11 choir singing protest songs during meet and greet
11.30 official welcome with marchers speaking about why they are there
12.10 Singing: “We shall not give up the fight – “The NHS belongs to us,
we won’t let it go”, borrowed and adapted from the struggle against apartheid in South Africa
12.15 line up and move off along the Headrow, down Vicar lane, along Boar Lane, up Briggate and back along the Headrow
1/ 1.15 arrive back at Victoria Gardens played in by the bands
1.15 short rally with a few speeches
2pm finish, clear up and adjourn to O’ Neill’s pub and the Victoria Hotel, both on Great George Street, immediately behind Leeds Town Hall.
The 2012 Health and Social Care Act requires the NHS to waste huge amounts of money putting services out to competitive tender, and private firms are sucking up public money.
Management consultants are making millions advising the NHS where to cut next. Virgin already have over £1bn worth of contracts and are now suing the NHS because their tender lost out for a big contract.
The government has systematically underfunded the NHS since 2011. Annual funding increases have been slashed to 1% – a level that can’t keep pace with population growth, inflation and the dead hand of Big Pharma squeezing ever greater profits out of the NHS.
This under-funding has caused chaos in the NHS. The Red Cross say it amounts to a humanitarian crisis. A&Es are stretched to bursting, with black alerts where no patients can be admitted and red alerts where there are no beds for admissions from A&E and patients are stacked on trolleys in corridors. Massive hospital bed cuts mean that bed occupancy is consistently higher than accepted safe levels. Patients are being discharged in haste to free up space for others stuck in A&E.
By 2020, there will be a further £25bn NHS ‘savings’ nationally – ie cuts – with over £1bn cut in West Yorkshire alone. These cuts are to be delivered by the toxic, so-called Sustainability and Transformation Plans that the government’s quango NHS England is imposing in a secret, opaque way. They will end our cradle to grave health care system and replace it with a 2 tier system that imports the profiteering, costly, unsafe and unfair American health system.
Soon – unless we stop the STPs – our health care will be mostly private and paid for by private health insurance, with a rump Medicare system for those who can’t get private health insurance.
Already Leeds Teaching Hospitals Cancer Centre has a “partnership” with an American-owned private health company, to provide private cancer care in its hospital. And the West Yorkshire & Harrogate Diabetic Eye Service is provided by a private company. Increasingly commissioning is privatised too.
The shrinking pot of NHS and social care funding – relative to real costs and population growth – guarantees more cuts to our NHS and social care. Our hospitals and community services are already at breaking point. Unless we stop this NOW, Sustainability and Transformation Plans will be the nail in the coffin for a free comprehensive health care equal to all. We’ll be faced with an unsafe substandard health care system where people will unnecessarily die from treatable and preventable health conditions.
The government doesn’t need to cut our health services.
On the grounds that it was not only morally right but cost effective to provide good health care for everyone, the NHS was set up in 1948 at a time when the national deficit was greater than it is now. The argument holds true today. We are the sixth richest nation in the world yet choose to spend less on health than most other European nations and have far fewer hospital beds and doctors.