This is an invite to join our Yorkshire March for the NHS on Saturday 16th April in Leeds ( assembles 11.30 outside Leeds Art Gallery): “ Stand By our Health workers: Stand Up for the NHS “
It will be four years this April since the Tory/ Lib Dem coalition passed the Health and Social Care Act sounding the death- knell for the NHS. As most of you will know the H&SC Act removed the Secretary of State’s duty to provide a national health service and opened up almost all new health care contracts to private companies. The NHS is being privatised, fragmented and starved of resources. Now the Government is moving fast to devolve health care to the same Local Authorities who they have already decimated through budget cuts so we can expect more hospital closures, rationing and post code lotteries with the blame deftly diverted from the Government to local Councils.
Like many hospitals, Leeds Teaching Hospital is expecting to be £40m in the red this year, Huddersfield and Dewsbury Hospitals are losing their A&Es and being run down, maternity units are closing, mental health services in York are in total disarray and the Government is openly calling for cuts in front line staff just a year after insisting on minimum staffing levels to maintain patient safety. They have axed public health budgets hard on the heels of public health becoming the responsibility of Local Authorities. Now they are trying to impose a new contract on junior doctors that is neither safe nor fair and remove student bursaries from nurses and allied health workers. Even GPs who normally stay out of the fray have just held an unprecedented crisis summit and are exploring what action they can take to resist the running down of GP services.
Every spring since 2012 campaigners, trade unionists and members of the public have taken to the streets of York or Leeds to try to expose the wilful, ideologically driven destruction of our NHS- one of the best, fairest and cheapest health care systems in the world - and encourage people to have the confidence and determination to stop it.
The plan is to meet at 11.30am outside Leeds Art Gallery, set off to march round the City Centre at 12.15 then back to the Art Gallery for a rally 1.15 - 2ish.
Last year at least 1,500 people turned out and media coverage multiplied the impact. This year, we could double that!
- Spread the word far and wide - colleagues, family, friends, neighbours, community and patient groups
- Ask your trade union branch or political party to make a donation towards the expense of publicity, the band, rally etc. Cheques to be made payable to Leeds KONP and sent to Leeds Keep Our NHS Public, 11 Regina Drive, LS7 4LR
- Distribute by email or hard copy the postcard we will be producing to advertise the march (email [email protected])
- Bring your banners, placards, musical instruments to help make this march visually striking and create a great atmosphere
- If you can wear NHS uniforms (ancient or modern!) that would be brilliant.
I’m sorry that this clashes with the People’s Assembly Demonstration Against Austerity in London but we had already reserved the day before the PA demonstration was announced and hope that many people will feel that by turning out in Leeds for the NHS we will be complementing the protest in London.
On behalf of Leeds Keep our NHS Public and Yorkshire Region Network of Defend NHS campaign groups and trade unions.
Issued: 16 February, 2016