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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 October 2016

Health campaigners announce date for national demo in defence of the NHS

NHS campaigners protesting outside Tory conference in 2014, photo by Paul Mattsson

NHS campaigners protesting outside Tory conference in 2014, photo by Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Mike Forster, Hands Off HRI chair (personal capacity)

The date is set! The national steering committee of Health Campaigns Together has called a national demo under the banner 'It's our NHS' for 18 March 2017 [Since changed to 4th March 2017 - website editor]. In response to the growing crisis in the health service and shrinking budgets, campaigners have decided to put out the call.

The government's agenda to force hospital trusts to balance the books next year, which will usher in massive cuts, has sprung the campaign into determined action.

Under the misnamed title of 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)', the Tories will let hospital trusts make the decisions about how to implement cuts of 22 billion.

These are eye watering cuts and in the words of health campaigner and academic John Lister: "will spell the end of the NHS as we know it".

As word get outs of hospital closures, bed reductions, staff redundancies and of course an anticipated winter of crisis, opposition to government cuts will mushroom. Campaign groups will spring up everywhere.

Now they have a focus and this anger can coalesce around this important demo in London.

The time to act is now! The NHS is fast becoming an issue of huge national concern for working class people everywhere. This demo can unite trade unions, campaign groups and activists in a coordinated protest. This can act as a catalyst to build huge local and national resistance. It must be a priority to get momentum behind this bold call to arms.

Get your union branches to back the demo. Start to publicise the date. Let's call on the Labour Party to get behind the demo.

The Tories have never been so vulnerable. Their dirty and secretive attempt to privatise the NHS is out. We can win this vital battle.

We say:

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In The Socialist 26 October 2016:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Protest and strike to save our NHS

Health campaigners announce national NHS demo

Hundreds march and rally to defend Tyneside hospital

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Socialist Party comments and reviews

Book review: Fighting racism in football

TV: No Place to Call Home

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