The state of our public health service is an issue close to everyone’s heart, yet the NHS is undergoing unprecedented cuts and privatisation. Momentum’s campaign aims to ensure we have an NHS that lives up to its founder Nye Bevan’s original vision: for an NHS that is publicly-provided, comprehensive and available to all and fully publicly funded through general taxation.
What’s happening to our NHS
One of British society’s greatest achievements, the National Health Service, is about to be lost. The NHS was established by the Labour Party after World War II and now Momentum are campaigning to save it.
In the 1940s, Labour health secretary, Nye Bevan, founded a publicly owned and provided healthcare system which was universal, comprehensive and free. But the NHS has been steadily eroded over the last 30 years.
After years of cuts and underfunding by the Tories, Tony Blair introduced the private sector into clinical services and expanded the money-draining Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Building on this, the Tories’ 2012 Health and Social Care Act effectively ended the government’s duty to provide a comprehensive health service and opened the NHS up to greater private sector encroachment. The consequences have been fragmentation, wasting money and cuts.
The NHS has been pushed to breaking point by the combination of private sector competition, underfunding, attacks on health workers, staff shortages and massive Private Finance Initiative debts on hospital buildings. Our health service is going in the same direction as social care – which is already almost completely privatised, with precarious working conditions generating low quality service at great expense.
The latest – and perhaps most deadly – blow to the NHS will be NHS England’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP). Trusts must now eliminate deficits by making cuts on a level never before proposed. A&E departments will halve in number. Other services will be decimated. People will be denied health care – or find that they have to pay.
There is already been resistance. Many local campaigns have mobilised thousands and some have saved their services from closure or privatisation. The new leadership of the Labour Party, under Jeremy Corbyn, has begun to move Labour towards a stronger stance on fighting for the NHS. And the junior doctors have shown the huge power that health workers can have in challenging the government’s assault on it.
Momentum is launching a national campaign to defend the NHS. Rather than duplicating the work of existing NHS campaigns, we aim to make a very specific contribution – supporting the Labour Party in leading the fight to save and rebuild the health service and mobilising many thousands of Labour members and supporters in every community to create a mass movement for the NHS.
We stand for a publicly owned, accountable and provided NHS and social care system that is well-funded, free (completely free – including all social care, dentists, prescriptions and optical care) and that provides the services everyone needs. We campaign for the Labour Party to fight for these goals, to actively oppose the current assault on the NHS via STP plans and aim to give strong support to the junior doctors and other health workers’ and community health struggles.
1) Ask your MP to sign Momentum’s NHS Pledge (will be available for download in the near future).
Most Labour MPs love the NHS – but will they help to save it
2) Solidarity with Junior Doctors and health workers.
Organise a public meeting, educational workshop or solidarity action with NHS workers and campaigners to spread the word about what is happening in our health service and what we can do about it.
3) Request a speaker or become a spokesperson:
Do you have an NHS related press enquiry or would you like someone to speak at your campaign event? Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Momentum aims to provide training in political education on the NHS and skills in public speaking – whether broadcast media or live events. Would you like to join our expanding network of spokespeople on the NHS? Contact: email@example.com