Thursday, 8 September 2011

What future does the NHS have ?

Tonight saw what could possibly have been the end of the NHS as we know it.

The health bill cleared its Commons stages on Wednesday, despite criticism from some Lib Dems as well as Labour.

It was approved by MPs by 65 votes, and will now go to the House of Lords where it is expected to face further opposition.

Earlier this year, the government was forced to "pause" the bill while ministers re-consulted on the proposals via a listening exercise called the NHS Future Forum.

A number of changes were subsequently made to the legislation.

But this has been widely met with anger and bitterness from many in the public who feel this was never given to them to vote on at the last general election last year. Many feel agrieved and angry at David Cameron who promised no more NHS shake ups under his government he has quite clearly broken this promie as has Nick Clegg and his Lib dems by towing the line with this. This was not in the coalition agreement and as so is deeply unfair to the public who had no say in this.

I attended a protest myself at a local hospital which is due to be knocked down and rebuilt with minor facilities but no A and E or anything like waht it is right now. I was joined by a fair few protesters but what strok me was the general lack of fight in people to save the NHS and put up a fight to keep it in public hands. Many people i speak too seem angry at this health bill being voted through but seemed like in a daze before hand and a sense of inevatability about it all like they were resigned to it going already.

This was not helped by the unions including Unison and the TUC supporting campaigns to save the NHS with a candle lit vigils. If there is anything so depressing and resigned as that i've yet to see one. What kind of protest is that ? its almost as bad as ex NUS leader Aaron Porter last year over the student tuitian fees. Quite pathetic really so far from our unions which i do still hold great faith in. But todays passing of the bill reminded me how sluggish and slow we've all been in defending the NHS and all that it stands for.

But what does the future hold for our beloved NHS you may ask.

well if you have ever been abroad to America and had to pay for treatment before you got seen by a doctor that is very similar to what they intend to do here in Britain.

The tories plans to open the NHS up to outside providers including private companies to provide a cheaper service will mean hospital closures, staff redundancies and a completely different organisation from waht we know today.

There will be no obligation on the government to provide health care free at the point of use any longer. Now this bill is passed they can roll full steam ahead in destroying which is argueably one of our greatest achievements as the working class. Winning a health care system that was free to all who needed it was won over years of working class struggles and determination to see we all were able to gain decent treatment in health care.

I just worry for this country with the young being hammered from pillar to post with trebling of tuitain fees, abolishing of the EMA grant and a dire lack of jobs for the young and now the certain destruction of our NHS. I just am wondering when the trade union movement and the labour movement is going to get up off its knees and start fighting back. It has got to be sooner rather than later for all our sakes.

The NSSN will be lobbying the TUC t his sunday at 1.30 at the TUC's annual congress in London to urge them to call a public sector general strike. This is needed more than ever and the role of the TUC in co-ordinating this should be key. We can only try and drag them into action much like we had to to call a national demonstration last year which eventually they called being dragged kicking and screaming by the most militant trade unionists out there. I fear the same will have to be done again to get anywhere with these soft moderates who are happy to isolate action and put off any action and wait for a labour government . Well i'm afraid that will just not do this time. We cannot wait for a labour government we need action now. Real working class united fightback. The unions still have the power if they choose to use it. We must force them to use it from below if they wont from the top.

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