The NHS is in the public eye like never before and we need to keep it there. This weekend when many people are celebrating the 72nd anniversary of its forming there are so many things that we need to be aware of. Obviously the Coronavirus pandemic has been and is still a major cause for concern. Spikes in the virus in certain areas and the coming of a second wave, across England in particular, are rightly being flagged up as something everyone needs to remember when considering the option of ignoring medical and scientific advice. The strain on the NHS and care services has been of seismic proportions, with staff dying as a result of working on the frontline and most other members of a beleaguered,heroic, workforce stressed to ridiculous degrees. We are urgently hearing about leaks about a current struggle between the treasury and NHS executives, negotiating for investment to provide cover for the spikes and second wave and to open up for other health treatments like cancer and orthopaedic surgery for examples. The details are woolly but it appearsSimon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS in England is demanding a £10bn shot in the arm from the Tory government. On face value, I’d vote for that. However it is being suggested that Stevens is keen to divert a certain amount of this money to private hospitals to help take the pressure off the NHS. Forgive me but that should raise alarm bells at this time when we are out clapping for the beloved health service and celebrating its formation in July 1948, we are having to rely on privatised services.
When Nye Bevan and his supporters successfully fought for the establishment of a free health service for the nations and regions of these Islands, the Tories at the time had alreadyvoted over 20 times against the move. Led by the way by Winston Churchill who saw it as a step towards a socialist state. He actually suggested a national socialist state in one speech, invoking fear of a Nazi ideology, just three years after WW2. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly they haven’t changed their spots but are now undermining the NHS by their actions, handing out contracts to their pals in the private sector to the detriment of of the NHS ancillary workers and negatively impacting on the quality of delivery.
As Tories do, they see and grasp every opportunity to make a killing, I mean financially of course, but if the top hat fits…
So we are clapping all the people associated with health service workers, genuinely thanking and celebrating with our NHS workers, our heroes, but as we do that worthwhile action, we can’t afford to have our attention diverted. Really can’t look the other way showing our gratitude, because when we look back again another chunk could have gone, another piece of capitalist surgery making cuts we can ill afford. It’s time to stand our ground and demand we defend what was set up 72 years ago and stop this Tory government from doing what their forefathers attempted and failed.
Happy birthday NHS and here’s to at least another 72 in good health.
Regional Political Officer
GMB Trade Union