Why we must fight for NHS

We had a great letter published today in the york press.

Dear Editor,

On Friday, 5th July, Defend our NHS York celebrated the 65th birthday of the NHS by setting up a stall in Parliament Street. We invited people to show their support and appreciation of the NHS by signing a petition against the moves the coalition government is making to extend privatisation within our precious, unique and, hitherto, mostly efficient and effective public health care system.

In the two and a half hours we ran the stall, we were delighted to collect over 400 signatures (almost 3 per minute). People queued to sign and mostly approached the stall before being asked personally.

We wonder if our peaceful and very English event in any way parallels the massive demonstrations by Egyptians to protect their fledgling democracy. Here at home our mature democracy is also under very real threat.  The coalition had no mandate for the NHS changes they have introduced.  If we had known what they were about to do the election result would have been very different. As in Egypt, a democratically elected government is behaving undemocratically, and we have to take to the streets, in our case, very politely.

On reflection, should we have been as pleased as we were with our 400+ signatures, when we know that a massive 70% of the population rated the NHS highly satisfactory before the last election? Are we too comfortably engrossed in our personal lives these days to know or care that the very thing that allows us to live as well as most of us do (i.e. the security net of the welfare state) is being dismantled before our eyes? Will we wake up too late and have to start all over again? The NHS, and British democracy itself (the oldest in the world), still have to be fought for. Ignore them and they’ll go away.

Yours sincerely,

Defend Our NHS York

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