The 'Hands Off Our Hospital' campaign to stop the cuts to West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance is progressing well. Activists have been out in force on three consecutive Saturdays, leafletting and collecting thousands of signatures. The demonstration on 3 December is building momentum. As well as Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance, West Cornwall Healthwatch, Save Our NHS (Cornwall) and the Cornishman newspaper, all of whom were at the first meeting, the campaign is supported by the Mayors of Penzance and Hayle, many Penzance town councillors, Andrew George the local MP and many individuals. Many shops in the town are displaying the posters and much of the town has been leafletted door-to-door.
However, Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance has understood that if these and other cuts are to be stopped, there is a need to understand where these cuts are coming from and why they are happening. The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust claims that the closing of the medical ward at West Cornwall Hospital is a clinical decision and not a financial one. They claim they need to move the beds to Treliske because of an expected rise in seasonal flu. If money is not a problem, why cannot they have extra beds at Treliske without them raiding the local hospital in Penzance? Of course this IS a financial decision and it has been forced on them because the Tory-led government is making the trust making £20 million of 'savings'. As a result hundreds of jobs are being axed and nurses that leave are not being replaced, making the workload for the already overworked nurses that remain even greater.
The way to stop these attacks is to combine the local campaign with a national movement in order to build a national focus that can inflict a defeat on the government. If the government is defeated over one attack, it will make it harder for them to carry out further attacks. The campaign with the biggest chance of success is that of co-ordinated strikes that began on 30 June and will strike again at the end of this month.
On 30 November up to 3 million trade unionists will be going on strike against this government's cuts agenda. This needs to be seen as a day for everyone to fight back and make their voices heard. Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance have organised, with the unions involved, a rally at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro at 10am, followed by a march to the Cathedral. Cornwall Anti-Cuts Alliance were out leafletting this afternoon in five towns, including Penzance (Penwith Anti-Cuts Alliance) in order to try to get as many people as possible to come on the day, including from the Penwith area.
This day of co-ordinated strike action is not the end, however. This must be just the beginning of a campaign of protests, strikes and occupations that can stop all the cuts and bring the Tory-led government to its knees.