Kill The Bill

This evening Leftwing Idiot, Poppy and I went to Westminster to a Save Our NHS rally.

There are only thirteen days left to oppose the Health and Social Care Bill. If it’s allowed to pass it’ll lead to the destruction of our National Health Service (NHS). The bill plans to privatise health care in an insidious and sneaky way and allow private companies to make money from people’s ill health. One health worker interviewed by the Guardian summed up what’s happening:

“We’re seeing a process of running down the Health Service on purpose, at the same time as making it possible for the private sector to get a foot-hold in the health sector.”

Protests have been escalating as time ticks away: Billboards funded by campaigners have gone up across the country urging the Prime Minster to think again. Patients and staff linked arms around St Thomas’ Hospital as a gesture of protection, and the most senior doctors in Britain at the British Medical Association (BMA) passed a vote of no confidence in the Health Minister, Andrew Lansley. And it’s not just professionals the government’s ignoring. They’re taking no notice of the hundreds of thousands of people who’ve signed online petitions opposing the proposals either.

At the rally every level and discipline within the NHS was represented – doctors, nurses, public health advisors, bed managers, physiotherapists, porters, domestic staff and paramedics. There were speeches from politicians, comedians and trade unionists too, but it was the voices of NHS workers that spoke most powerfully to me.

The government is simply not listening to those who know and understand the health needs of this country.

This clip shows a doctor challenging Andrew Lansley. The minster walks away, completely ignoring rational argument and expertise – and that epitomises the attitude of the government as a whole.

When I got home I watched this clip from a TV debate in America on health care. It shows congressman Ron Paul being asked if an American who hadn’t got health insurance and suddenly needed treatment should be left to die. He failed to answer the question directly but someone in the audience screamed out “Yeah!”

The congressman bemoans the idea that you have to take care of everybody and even says, “We have a lack of competition in medicine. Everybody’s protected by licensing. We should actually legalise alternative health care and allow people to practice what they want.”

I was stunned. How could a humane society ever allow a situation where people are allowed to die when they can be treated and saved? And why on earth would we want competition in medicine? Surely what we actually want is good quality compassionate healthcare.

We’re running out of time. We have to act together now! Go and find out more about what’s happening, and then tell everyone you know. The threat to the NHS is real, forceful and here. We must stand up for it rather than stand aside and let it die, otherwise our children, parents, brothers, sisters and our humanity will follow.

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