Organised by 38 degrees & Gloucestershire anti-cuts groups (Stroud, Forest of Dean and Cheltenham & Gloucester Against the Cuts) with the participation/support of various union branches and individual union reps and activists.
Workshop – Saturday 16 February at 8 Milsom Street, Cheltenham
A series of information & discussion sessions (broad outline of topics below)
starting at 10 am – 3 pm
Opening – 10-10.30 am / Workshops 10.30 – 12.00 /short break for refreshments 12.30 – 2 pm
2-00 – 3.00 p.m Discussion and workshop reports: How can we build locally to defend the NHS.
At the end there will be a chance to chat over tea/coffee and a showing of Sicko – film by Michael Moore
What’s happening in the NHS & why?
A&E closures ● NHS budget cuts ● Staff pay cuts and redundancies ● GP out-of-hours services being put out to tender ● Phasing-out of PCTs ● Clinical Commissioning Groups ● Outsourcing, cherry-picking by private service providers ● The financial drain of PFI ● Loss of control/accountability ● Independent Treatment Centres ● Ambulance services run by bus companies ● Integration of social care & health ● Personalised budgets ● The Health and Social Care Act. There’s so much happening – it’s bewildering.
Most of these changes fly in the face of public opinion. Many policies are hidden behind political rhetoric designed to hide their real intent. A recent opinion-finding exercise in Gloucestershire showed 96% in favour of keeping community health services in the NHS. But it was a local campaign, led by Stroud Against the Cuts & supported by anti-cuts campaigners in Cheltenham, Gloucester & the Forest that forced NHS Gloucestershire to carry out this survey. The vast majority want a public NHS -why is it being privatised?
Health care is not about profit – we oppose privatisation
Due to public opposition, privatisation of the NHS is not being enacted in the same way as Thatcher privatised the railways or the energy sector. How is it being done, which companies & interests are involved, what impact will it have on care and staff wages and conditions? Is it a bad idea for charities to take over services? Why are PFI’s still bleeding the NHS of resources? Many people don’t even hear about these issues. We want to lift the veil of secrecy and develop a strategy that will help us reclaim the NHS.
What can we do? What kind of campaign is needed to stop this government from destroying the biggest and most important reform ever introduced by a British government?
What do NHS staff think? How can the trade unions work with local campaigns?
What are we going to do to SAVE THE NHS? The main aims of the workshop are to inform people about what is happening and why; decide what is important to us and which demands we want to campaign around and then to discuss how we can organise and campaign together – patients, staff, local people, community activists, NHS and health staff, professional bodies and trade unions .