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Call for NHS demo gets support
THE NHS is plummeting towards a two-tier system with very basic care for all and good care for those who can pay.
Against the backdrop of this, the Keep Our NHS Public campaign held their conference on 25 March.
When Socialist Party member Lois Austin spoke she called for the conference to set a date for a demonstration to unite the campaigns against attacks on the NHS.
Originally there was only one resolution to be voted on, a simple pledge to carry on fighting, developing local campaigns and lobbying our MPs. Then an amendment was moved from the floor calling on the campaign to get the TUC to organise such a demonstration. The mood of the conference was shown when the amendment was overwhelmingly carried.
There were trade union speakers as well as various GPs and MPs. Vague pledges to fight back were made by trade unions UNISON and Amicus as well as by former health secretary Frank Dobson MP.
But they put forward no strategy that would make use of the potential mass organised strength that could be gathered behind this campaign. The NHS crisis has been called Labour's poll tax but the anger that working-class people feel about the government's policies must be organised to be effective.
Other speakers recognised the need for something more. GP Ron Singer - President of the Medical Practitioners' Union - said how there is a need for action: "I believe, in the form of strike action and demonstrations".
The national demonstration must now be campaigned for urgently. If the TUC drag their feet then Keep Our NHS Public should urge the health unions to join with them to call it.
In The Socialist 30 March 2006:
Socialist Party NHS campaign
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