I have a very special place in my heart for our National Health Service. My first job when I left school was in The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London. Over the years I worked in Leicester Royal Infirmary and have been a receptionist for an NHS GP. I have never known what it is like to think twice about seeking medical help for my family because I couldn’t afford the cost. The NHS supported me throughout four successful pregnancies and countless childhood ailments and emergencies. The NHS was available when my husband was knocked off his bike by a hit and run driver and some years ago saw me through a rather nasty brush with breast cancer.
Just this year, I have had surgery for a growth on my eyelid,my two daughters have each produced a grandson and an 84-year-old relative has been nursed through several crises. My debt to the NHS is enormous but fortunately it has always been free at the point of delivery ie when you need it. My family have contributed through taxes and NI contributions, but we have never had to reach for a cheque book before getting the treatment we needed, which I understand is the case in many places.
You will sometimes hear people complain about the NHS but I think that we don’t know just how lucky we are in the UK. Today will see the completion of a long distance People’s March for the NHS which has taken place across England. The protest has been led by a group of mothers from Darlington, County Durham. Following in the footsteps of the famous Jarrow Marchers back in 1936, the group of ‘Darlo Mums’ have organised a replica march in support of the NHS. Marchers left Jarrow Town Hall on the 16/8/14 and will arrive in Parliament Sq, London 3.30pm on the 6/9/14, marching the last leg from UNITE, Theobald’s Rd from 2.30pm. The march has covered approximately 300 miles covering 23 town and cities over three weeks. The message from the mums is a simple one – that the NHS is owned by and loved by us and every effort will be made to prevent it being sold off.
It’s s really hard to passively watch the rapid dismantling, privatisation and destruction of the NHS. First we had the Health & Social Care Act, then Section 75 and more recently Clause 119 of the Care Bill. The Government have legislated to open the NHS to the open market. We believe every penny saved in the NHS should go back into improving and developing our NHS. We don’t want to see private companies operating in the NHS under the heading of ‘efficiency’ when we know they are accountable to their share holders, who are only interested in maximum profit before patient health care.
I am unable to join the march in person but I wish to express my support for the sentiments expressed by the marchers. If we don’t fight to keep our National Health Service we will lose it and that will be a national disaster of enormous magnitude
Organisers of the people’s march for the NHS Rehana & Joanna said “The reason for protesting is simple we want to see a repeal of the Health and Social Care Act and we are aiming for four things:
● Reverse the closure of NHS services
● Halt the privatisation of NHS care
● Return responsibility for delivering NHS services to the Secretary State for Health
● To inform the public what is happening to the NHS and build support for the NHS
The NHS was created to deliver free and equal healthcare for all irrespective of wealth and those principles are being steadily dismantled – which is why we should be prepared to fight for it.