This Sunday, to mark the 72nd birthday of the NHS, campaigning organisations Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together, People's Assembly and We Own It, have partnered up with several other organisations an online rally with speakers called 'Our NHS Deserves Better', and to launch our 2020 Vision, a set of key demands to the government, a 'Rescue Plan for the NHS'.
As part of their Campaign, Keep our NHS Public patron, actress Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey), has given her backing and provided the voice-over for two short films created especially for the NHS birthday weekend. The first, The Coronavirus Scandal, (watch below) provides background to the government’s delayed and uncoordinated response to Covid-19 which dramatically increased the death toll. The second film, NHS Privatisation, (due for release tomorrow) features interviews with Lord Owen (Health Minister 1974-1976) and others. The films will be shared across all Keep Our NHS Public’s Facebook page and social media in order to help launch our 2020 Vision a Rescue Plan for the NHS.
The COVID Crisis has exposed how cuts to NHS funding has left it less prepared to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Between mid-March and Mid-April over 37,000 NHS beds were emptied of patients in preparation for the epidemic as elective work halted and patients were discharged. The number of people awaiting treatment could top 10m by the end of the year. The Royal College of Surgeons estimates that it could take 5 years to get back to the waiting list levels seen before March. With many NHS beds still closed, the NHS is now considering a deal worth up to £5bn to use 8,000 private hospital beds instead.
Alison Steadman, actress and a patron of Keep Our NHS Public said:
Our NHS was created to keep people safe; to care and protect us all on an equal basis. We mustn’t let it slip away.
Alia Butt, Psychotherapist and organiser for NHS staff in Keep Our NHS Public said:
It’s incredibly upsetting that after months of expressing admiration and support for the NHS and its hard-working staff, the government see fit to lift the lockdown dangerously early, on the NHS anniversary weekend. This will, of course, result in added pressure on the NHS and its workers, including potentially the loss of yet more staff lives - a majority of whom will likely be from minority backgrounds. By opening businesses, pubs, hair salons, restaurants, and other places where social distancing will be very difficult, we will no doubt see a surge of covid19 cases in NHS hospitals - where staff are STILL not reliably receiving adequate PPE. The government recently voted against weekly testing for NHS staff, so risking more lives of the carers they were clapping not long ago.
Our national online rally will be co-hosted by Keep Our NHS Public, The People’s Assembly against Austerity, Health Campaigns Together, We Own It and supported by Unite, GMB, Unison, Arise, Labour Assembly Against Austerity, Build Back Better, NHS Support Federation, NEU, NUJ, TUC, Momentum, FBU, NPC, NHS Staff Voices, NIPSA, and the Socialist Health Association and more.
Check out our Facebook event here
Rally speakers include: Cat Hobbs (We Own It), Dr Sonia Adesara (Keep Our NHS Public), Helen O’Conner (GMB), John Lister (Health Campaigns Together), Dr Kambiz Boomla (Doctors in Unite), Kevin Courtney (National Education Union), Laura Ho (Build Back Better), Laura Pidcock (People’s Assembly), Rachel Ambrose (mental health nurse) and Roger McKenzie (Unison Assist Gen Sec), Ernesta Nat Cote (Lewisham Hospital Cleaner and GMB rep), Gerry Potter (Poet), Sara Gorton (Unison Head of Health - tbc) and more
See you online!