Despite being ignored by elected MPs and non-elected Lords ordinary people have called for action this weekend to demonstrate against the coalition government’s corporate carve up of our NHS.
Here is a blog post from ‘a concerned NHS user’ who’ll be there at the weekend. See you on the streets.
The Health and Social Care Bill, or as Seamus Milne more accurately describes it the Health Market and Privatization Bill, will make its last visit to the House of Lords for its third and final reading on Monday 19th March. How it has even got this far is some kind of miracle – numerous medical organisations have spoken out against the bill and called for its withdrawal and the public has been campaigning against it tirelessly since the UK Uncut Block the Bridge action last year.
Andrew Lansley has even been chased down hospital corridors by angry NHS supporters. Yet, like some sort of zombie it has chugged along to this point. We must act to ensure it gets no further. Hoping that the Queen’s busy Jubilee schedule will result in the bill not gaining royal assent and passing into law is not enough.
The bill will radically change our world leading National Health Service, turning it into a greatly diminished service, with much lower standards and – as is always the case with privatization – one that is based on your ability to pay. As Professor Allyson Pollock and her colleagues describe, despite amendments to the bill: ‘the fundamental policy behind the Bill remains intact – to abolish the National Health Service – and introduce mixed financing and greater commercialisation and commercial control over the scope and allocation of government funded health care’. They go on to describe how this will impact on our experience of the NHS – ‘The Bill legalises fewer services for fewer people, for introducing charges for services currently free, and for excluding people.’ It will be a National Health Service in name only.
The consequences of this bill are so horrifying that thousands of people are taking action over the following days to do everything we can to stop the bill in its tracks and protect our NHS from the circling corporate vultures.
On Saturday 17th join the ‘Don’t let Richard Branson asset-strip the NHS’ protest on Oxford street. And then onto the demonstration outside of the Department of Health to express our anger at what the government are doing. From here we will move to a secret location and take action against one of the corporations who are looking to get their mits on our NHS.
On Sunday 18th join the Mothers Day protest, assemble 1pm, Parliament Square.
Come along and join in, spread the word to everyone you know. If you can’t make it down, why not organise an action closer to home and be sure to use social media to report your actions. Check out the awesome BlockTheBillBuilders website for info on targets and how to organise your own action.
Let’s make this a huge weekend of direct action to save our NHS.