At today's Manchester May Day Festival at the Mechanics Institute, everyone was invited to write 'thank you' messages to the NHS on its 70th Birthday, with the greeting 'Let's make sure it's here for another 70 years!'
The idea is that people write on a special laminated card, take a photo of themselves with it, upload it to social media, wipe the card clean and pass it on. As a background to the mass card signing was a huge Happy Birthday NHS cake...with a 'privatisation' lump hammer smashing through it.
"In its 70th year, the NHS is fighting for its life, as it faces a further attempt to carve it up and starve it of funds" state the organisers, Greater Manchester Keep Our NHS Public and Stockport NHS Watch "Andrew Lansley's Health and Social Care Act ironically came into force on 1 April 2013. But the coalition wasn't joking about its intention to open up the NHS to rampant privatisation and punitive cuts.
"In the 2010 election, and the two subsequent ones, there was no manifesto mention
of the catastrophic 'reforms' planned for the NHS" they add "The current and
previous governments have no mandate for privatising the NHS by stealth."
They point out the following changes that are wounding the NHS...
CCGs, or Clinical Commissioning Groups – 'sold to the public as nice family doctors making decisions on health spending. A look at the boards will show they are packed with accountancy firms and management consultants...'
STPs, or Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships – 'this broke NHS England up into 44 areas, which would be more saleable to private providers, who can hide behind the NHS logo.'
ACOs, or Accountable Care Organisations – 'rebranded as Accountable Care Systems but increasingly known as Integrated Care Systems - which aren't statutory bodies and therefore accountable to...who knows? These ACOs/ACSs/ICSs will have limited budgets and, when they're spent, tough luck if you need treatment.'
'999 Call for the NHS and Doctors for the NHS, supported by the late Professor Hawking, have won the right to challenge the roll out of ACOs through judicial reviews. The government was planning to foist this change on the NHS without an Act of Parliament...'
The NHS campaigners conclude: "So in its 70th year the NHS is fighting for its life and needs all the support we can muster and big thank you for carrying on heroically despite everything..."
For further details on Keep Our NHS Public – see the website – click here
Or the Facebook site – click here
See also Stockport NHS Watch website - click here