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MEETING HEARS PLANS TO BROADEN HEALTH CAMPAIGN
For immediate use 19 November 2006
Over 50 people attended a Public Meeting on the Crisis in the NHS, held at Coventry Motor Museum yesterday, Saturday. The Meeting had been organised by the Coventry and Warwickshire branch of the Campaign for a New Workers’ Party. Cllr Dave Nellist, leader of the Socialist Group on Coventry Council, and national chair of the CNWP, chaired the meeting and expressed concern about threatened cuts to local health services in Coventry and Warwickshire. “The University Hospital Walsgrave alone has a reported deficit of £27million which could mean up to 400 job cuts/redundancies and/or loss of hospital services. We are expecting similar attacks on health provision in Nuneaton, Rugby and Warwick. We will oppose these cuts vigorously by linking together all the local health campaigns,” he added.
The main speaker was Cllr Dr Jackie Grunsell, who had overturned a large Labour majority to take a seat this May on Huddersfield Council as a ‘Save our NHS’ candidate. Dr Grunsell suggested that the crisis in the NHS was evidence of Labour’s failure to deliver and showed the need for a political alternative. “The NHS has been faced with market driven reforms for 25 years, but this had accelerated since Labour came to power in 1997. There had been massive cuts in patient care nationally,” she informed the meeting. “Privatisation has been continuously forced through with more and more PFI hospitals and treatment centres. High interest rates have forced up costs which are met by reducing provision and cutting jobs. Labour even wants operations to be farmed out privately. Health care, like education, should be driven by peoples’ needs, not profit. We must link the local health campaigns into a national campaign as we did to get rid of the poll tax,” she concluded.
During the meeting there were numerous calls to stand anti health cuts candidates in next year’s council elections. Dave Nellist summed up the feeling of the meeting when he concluded, “We will broaden out the health campaign and we will include standing election candidates as part of it. There is a dire need for an alternative to the never ending attacks on public services by all the main parties. We are in the process of building that alternative – a socialist alternative,” he added.
For further information contact:
Pete McLaren on 07881 520626
Dave Nellist on 07970 294237