Thursday, 1 September 2011

Stop the Bill! Join the Keep Our NHS Public mass street petition protest!

Assemble 11am Sunday September 4
Brighthelm Gardens, Queens Road, Brighton
Rally 3pm at the War Memorial, Old Steine, Brighton

Health workers and NHS patients are uniting with anti-cuts campaigners this Sunday to take part in a mass street petitioning protest in opposition to the ConDem government's plans which will open up our publicly owned health service to privatisation.

Brighton Keep Our NHS Public activists and Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition campaigners will be stationed across the city with petitions and thousands of leaflets to distribute highlighting the threat poised by the Health and Social Care Bill being voted on by Parliament the following week.

Signed petitions will be collected at a rally to be held at 3pm at the War Memorial on the Old Steine on Sunday afternoon before being handed in to the two local Conservative MPs on Monday, at the start of the week in which they discuss the Bill and vote on September 6 and 7.

Key parts of the Bill will allow "any willing provider" to profit from carrying out NHS duties, along with government attempts to wash its hands of any responsibility for providing health services, leaving unaccountable private firms and the failed free market to rule.

The campaign event has the support of Brighton, Hove and District Trades Union Council and Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition, with activists taking part from a wide range of groups including trade union branches and community campaigns working in solidarity against all government cuts, including NHS pension changes and the threatened loss of £20 billion of NHS funds over five years. Phil Clarke from BSCC says: "Privatisation and cuts are two sides of the same coin. This is why Brighton Stop the Cuts Coalition stands fully behind the campaign against the government's white paper. The NHS is ours, and there is no support for a move towards a US-style private system. We encourage everyone to get behind the campaign and join us on Sunday."

David Babbs from online campaign site 38 Degrees, which has collected almost 500,000 signatures against the Bill, says: "The so-called 'hands-off' clause... removes political accountability, which is the only real control voters have on the way the NHS is delivered. None of us voted for these fundamental changes to the NHS. They weren't in any party's manifestos, or the coalition agreement."

Peter Knight from Brighton Keep Our NHS Public says: "If this Bill is passed, our NHS will cease to exist as we know it. It will no longer be publicly owned. Voters will have no say in how services are run. We will be left with private firms sucking vital funds away from frontline services, with profits and shareholders' interests being put before patients' needs, as we recently witnessed with catastrophic results in the Southern Cross care home scandal. This government of the rich for the rich has no mandate to do this."

"If passed, this Bill will destroy our NHS. Why should the failed private sector be trusted to provide vital health services when the chaos and greed of the free market is to blame for the economic crisis? There is a very good reason why we have a publicly owned NHS - leaving people's health in the hands of corporate profit vultures did not help to look after the sick and vulnerable before the NHS was fought for and won 63 years ago. The NHS belongs to all of us and we urge everyone to oppose this Bill to help save our NHS."

On Facebook? To keep in touch with the KONHSP campaign and for local events, 'like' our Brighton Keep Our NHS Public page and spread the word.

Who are we? Brighton Keep Our NHS Public has been campaigning against attempts to sell off our NHS since 2006. We are health workers, patients, trade union members, welfare campaigners and individuals hoping to bring as many people together effected by the government's plans. Please get in touch if you would you like to find out more, or if you'd like to help organise or come to a local meeting to discuss ways we can stop the Bill. Email Thank you.