Mass demonstrations against NHS cuts

Protestors march against NHS cuts in Brighton, 14/10/06
Protestors march against NHS cuts in Brighton, 14/10/06

Thousands of people have been marching today against the ongoing NHS cuts that are part of ‘cost saving’ privatisation measures designed to create a for-profit health service.

Submitted by Joseph Kay on October 14, 2006

Police said that 7,000 turned out in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, where local press and even Tory MPs (despite privatisation being a core Tory policy) have been publicly speaking out in support of the march against cuts at the local hospital. In Brighton - where 500 NHS jobs are being lost - over 250 people marched chanting "public health not private wealth", despite no prior media coverage and the massive march 12 miles away in Haywards Heath. A similar-sized demonstration to the Brighton one was also held today in Oxford. Today's demonstrations follow a sizeable march in Worthing recently involving up to 10,000 people. In September 3,000 people including NHS workers marched in Plymouth and last week 1,000 marched against cuts in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

NHS cuts and creeping privatisation are being pursued under the banner of 'patient choice', yet the proposals mostly involve hospital closures, regional centralisation and job cuts in an attempt to turn healthcare into another source of profit. Organisers of the 'Keep our NHS public' campaign have vowed to make the cuts into "Labour’s Poll Tax" in reference to the mass campaign of disobedience and riots that at its peak involved over 17 million people and stopped Margaret Thatcher's new tax, helping topple her government.