SOS NHS is a powerful new linkup between unions, Health Campaigners Together, NHS Support Federation, Keep Our NHS public, EveryDoctor, NHS voices, Just treatment and others.
These groups have joined forces to challenge the 12 years of underfunding and staff shortages, that have plunged the NHS into its worst crisis in history. To raise awareness of this campaign a day of action is planned in towns and cities across the country on Saturday 26th February.
I am organising a demonstration in Bromsgrove, the constituency of Health Secretary Sajid Javid, at 12 noon on Bromsgrove High Street, by the Housman Statue. I am a retired health professional and I am deeply concerned about the current NHS and its future. This is the third demonstration I have held in the Health Secretary ‘s constituency.
The NHS is in dire straits
I am an avid supporter of the NHS and its original ethos and I have seen firsthand the current untenable situation the NHS is in, after over a decade of deliberate underfunding and closures.
Seven years ago, staffing at a major Birmingham hospital was so poor that it resulted in long delays in pain relief for my brother who was at the end of his life. I have waited in A&E at the same hospital for over 15 hours with my very elderly frail mum.
At the time, ambulances were queueing outside (this was in 2018 so absolutely nothing to do with Covid). I am also aware of friends who have been forced to pay for cancer surgery privately, as the waits for NHS treatment were so long. Similarly, one of my relatives, who was diagnosed with cancer, was given a 12 week wait for a CT scan.
I know of women who laboured with little or no pain relief as there were no beds on the delivery suite and no anaesthetist.
Over the last 12 years the NHS has been deliberately underfunded, Hospitals closed and downgraded. Back in 2015, I and many others predicted such emergencies, when this government was closing obstetric units in England.
SOS NHS’ demands:
The NHS is in crisis now, and we are asking for a publicly owned, fully funded NHS under democratic control for the patients, workers, and communities, not for the benefit of the bosses of private companies.To benefit financially from sickness and ill health is abhorrent.
Staff need a pay increase, fully funded training, and an adequate bursary. The super rich used the pandemic to further accumulate wealth, and, rather than fixing the problems with the NHS, the Health and Care Bill will only accelerate this. Mental health and social care are hardly mentioned in the bill. Instead, the Health and Care Bill will instead give the Health Secretary unprecedented decision-making powers over our NHS.
The NHS is in a critical condition, with a lack of staff, beds, and resources after 12 years of frozen funding whilst the population has grown by over 5 million. The national day of action is to raise awareness of the Health and Care bill, what it means, and what is happening whilst we are distracted by the government.