On Saturday 3 February, Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly organised a demonstration for the NHS in central London. Despite pouring rain, the march drew tens of thousands from all over the UK, including organised delegations of hospital workers, and local NHS campaign groups, such as Fighting 4 Life Lincolnshire, which is working to save emergency healthcare services in Grantham.
The march was lively, if damp, and addressed by various public figures and health sector trade unionists as well as John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. The demonstration should mark the start of a major and concerted campaign to save the NHS after a 2017-18 winter crisis of unprecedented severity.
Such a campaign should take as its starting point the good policy passed at Labour Party Conference 2016. It called for, among other things, adequate funding for all services, reversing privatisation, PFI and debts, scrapping the Tories’ austerity cap on pay levels, and the repeal and reversal of the 2012 Act. The aim is to reinstate and reintegrate the NHS as a public service, publicly provided.