'Our NHS is under threat and time is running out'

Unite teams up with NHS campaign organisations in national day of action against Health and Care Bill

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The NHS is under threat and time is running out, Unite has warned. The Health and Care Bill is now being pushed through Parliament, and will have disastrous consequences for the health service if the Bill is passed, as UniteLive has previously reported.

That’s why Unite is teaming up with campaigning group SOS:NHS to host a national NHS Day of Action on Saturday (February 26), with events being held across England to oppose the Bill.

The Day of Action comes hot on the heels of a major ad campaign, where the union, alongside organisations Your NHS Needs You and Diem 25, unveiled billboards, ad vans and bus stops with direct messages to constituents living in so-called ‘Red Wall’ seats. The ads highlighted local Tory MPs who have previously voted in favour of the Bill and urged voters to contact their MPs to oppose it.

Now, members of Unite’s Community section, alongside activists in Unite in Health, which represents more than 100,000 health service workers, will on Saturday (February 26) be hosting rallies as well as stalls on high streets and outside hospitals in towns and cities throughout England. They’ll talk directly to local people and encourage voters to contact their local MP to voice their opposition to the Health and Care Bill.

Commenting, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said, “While our members and their families in England are being told to expect NHS waiting lists to rise for years to come, the government’s priority is to pave the way for further disastrous privatisation. Every time private companies run NHS services they put profits before patients who pay the price.

“So MPs must put their constituents before their private sector mates and vote to junk the Bill. Of course, it is unlikely they will, and Unite will have to continue to fight these big corporate money moves step by step inside the NHS.”

Last week, Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe explained just why the Health and Care Bill was so worrying.

“Our NHS and social care systems in England have faced decades of funding shortages and are now under sustained and serious attack from the government, facing multiple reorganisations at a time of pandemic crisis,” he wrote in a comment piece.

“Instead of desperately needed direct investment in our health and care services, including more funding, more staff and more beds to achieve stability and recovery, the catastrophic Bill will further destabilise and fracture services,” he added.

Unite Head of Community Liane Groves agreed.

“Our NHS is under threat and time is running out,” she said. “The Health and Care Bill will cut medical and emergency services, force more people to pay for their health care and let more private companies take over services and make decisions on budgets.

“That is why we’re out on the streets this weekend, highlighting the tsunami of attacks our health service is facing and asking local people to tell their MPs they must vote against the Health and Care Bill to save our NHS.”

Unite is urging all its members and friends and family to come out on Saturday (February 26) to support the national day of action. You can find an event near you on our NHS Day of Action events listings here.

You can also find out more about Unite’s campaign against the Bill, why exactly the Bill will be so damaging to the NHS and how you can contact your local MP to voice your concerns on our campaign page here. 

Hajera Blagg

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