It looks increasingly likely that the Tories and Liberal Democrats, having agreed “reforms” to the Health Bill acceptable to both, will rush the bill through before parliament goes to its summer recess on 19 July. Despite Liberal Democrat claims that they have saved the NHS, the bill is still set to bring in GP commissioning, and fundamentally undermine the basis of a publicly funded, publicly accountable health service run not for profit, by opening up the NHS to private sector vultures. This gives us very little time to mobilise mass opposition on the streets.
We need to crank up the pressure on the TUC and the health unions to flex their muscle and call and mobilise for a national demonstration on the day the bill goes to parliament. There are calls for a London-wide protest on 5 July, the 63rd birthday of the NHS, and a day the TUC has already marked for action over the NHS.
In Cornwall, staff at Treliske Hospital are planning an action outside the hospital on their lunch break on that day. They will hold hands around the outside of the building to symbolically show they are protecting the NHS. They also plan to cut a cake. Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance have also planned to organise a 'birthday party' for the NHS. They will make cakes in the shape of the letters N, H and S which will be carved up and given out. Save Our NHS (Cornwall), 'Just Desserts', an anti-cuts group in North Cornwall and Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance also plan similar events. Steps will be taken over the next couple of weeks to co-ordinate these ideas.
There are also calls for the TUC to call a national demo and lobby of parliament when the bill goes to parliament.
We need to push the unions to act, as well as raising these arguments within the anti-cuts movement and get commitment from organisations to join these initiatives and build for them.