Women need the NHS, for themselves, for the babies, and for their communities.
Women of the Labour movement fought hard for decades to found a National Health Service. Despite the huge difficulties, and after decades of struggle, in 1948, with the great reforming Labour Government, they succeeded. Some of these women recounted being mocked for demanding health care free at the point of need for all, but they fought on.
Now The NHS is being dismantled before our eyes. Fight like your grandmothers and great grandmothers, fight like hell to win back the NHS. You can make a difference. Get in touch with campaigns or set up one yourself. You will find lots of help.
Profit, not human need, is driving NHS cuts. Some of the wealthiest corporations in the world are involved, invited in by this government.
Building blocks of the NHS
The NHS was founded to be a national service. A national service shares the risks of more than 66.02 million people. It provides a huge base for research, data and professional education.
The NHS was founded to be
- Free at the point of need
- Publicly provided
- Available for everyone
- A comprehensive service
- Funded from general taxation (So the bosses pay too, not just the workers).
Using this model, the NHS became the world leader in health care. We saw nearly 70 years of consistent investment, of professional training and great returns in money invested and women’s lives improved, babies survived.
The NHS was far from perfect, the UK did not and does not top the charts for women’s health or for babies health. Campaigners are realistic about the problems. But, we can afford a decent NHS.
Health care is a great investment. Every pound invested returns £3 to the economy. Poor health care means pain and worry, unfit people, less competent workers, more people giving up work to care for family members who are ill, and lower GDP.
Health care spending at Western European levels would give us a good NHS, we don’t need a money tree.
There are two distinct waves of deliberate disruption, privatization, and marketization of the NHS, and each wave is damaging our health and the service itself. Step one started with Blair legislation but comes now from the Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act, 2012. It is cruel and vicious.
These changes are wrapped in the sugary language of “progress”, “efficiency” “consultation”, and “personalization”. In cold reality, they mean:
- Deliberate shortage of money and resources
- Bad planning of staff training, recruitment, and retention so we are short of doctors, nurses, midwives, and other health professionals
- Cuts in the number of hospital beds
- The internal market and the Hospital Trust system which sets hospitals up to compete, significantly increasing costs and administration
- The Commissioning model, which massively increased private providers moving into the NHS, and is inefficient and wasteful.
- The NHS is no longer for everyone. Many are charged – especially if their skin is not white. (Please see our blog or Docs not Cops for more on migrant charging)
- Not all services are now provided
- Maternity services are inadequate
- Mental health care has been wrecked, especially for children
- The involvement of financial consultants from huge corporations, supporting the involvement of profit-making bodies.
Every human society has to care for its elders. Yet since Thatcher, our elder care has been privatized. Whilst it started as small often family enterprises, they have now been consolidated into big corporations
Privatization, speculation, underinvestment and inflated private profit, from hedge funds and others over many years, has damaged social care for our elders, whilst disabled adults have been the hardest hit in cuts to services supporting independence (see Reclaim Social Care campaign).
Social care is means-tested and badly funded. Staff less well paid, with less professional development than in the NHS. Social care is in deep crisis. None of the NHS changes addresses these issues. Heath and social care working well together is an admirable aim, but the Integrated Care system does not address this at all. It is an accountancy measure.
Maternity faces closures of units and hospitals, as well as half of them, being so full they have turned mothers away, sending them to other units; such is “choice” in this situation. There is a profound and increasing shortage of midwives, shortages of obstetricians and related professionals. Postnatal care is especially hard hit.
In NHS newspeak, every issue is supposedly to do with a mother’s choice, but somehow, not if that choice is to give birth in her own town or city, or the maternity unit she has chosen. No, these cuts and closures, we are told, are essential! Continuity midwife services much vaunted in the propaganda would require at least fifty percent more midwives to implement nationwide One NHS spokesman claimed it was fine to travel for four hours to access obstetric care. It is not just maternity though. All services for women matter. Any improvement in women’s health has halted thanks to austerity and NHS cuts. UK women on average endure 18 years of ill health. The gap in life expectancy between women and men is closing downwards. Austerity is shortening our lives. Liverpool Women’s Hospital is always in peril in this system.
2019 wave of privatization is happening now in every area of England. The NHS and social care are being reorganized. It looks like this
Find out more, spread the word.!
Step 2 looks like this;
Not even all councillors know what is happening, yet councillors can have a say in this through health and well being boards.
Campaigners can alert the public. Councillors can intervene to oppose this at Health and Well-being boards; they can shine a spotlight on the issue and rouse public opposition. Councillors can challenge it. Telford and Wrekin Councillors have done just that. The ICO is slightly different in each area, but is all to the same end.
Hospitals, A and E, Maternity care, GP services, prescribing policies, urgent care, Ambulances mental health, children’s mental health, are all at risk.
Across the country local campaigns are working to thwart these plans, a whole social movement is developing. We need ever-growing campaigns, and to win a Labour government who will return the NHS to its original model.
Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign works with other campaigns across the UK. There are dozens to get involved with, including KNOP, Health Campaigns Together,Defend our NHS https://www.facebook.com/groups/defendournhs/ and Socialist Health. Get a speaker to your branch and get outside your hospitals.