“The NHS will last as long as there’s folk with faith left to fight for it” Nye Bevan
Today marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS and these words have proven to be prophetic. The NHS is Labour’s greatest achievement, but the fight to save it from the Tory wreckers has never been harder. The stakes never higher.
The National Health Singers launched their single, “Won’t let go” today. It’s here. As well as celebrating the NHS, it captures the fighting spirit that Nye Bevan embodied. Jeremy Hunt will be hoping it’ll flop, so we’re doing our bit to make sure it gets to No.1.
Locally, our NHS is facing an immediate and present danger. It’s called Future Fit and it’s a “consultation” process that focuses on robbing this county of an A&E. It forces the public to choose between 2 options, either of which would mean:
- 1 in 5 nurses losing their jobs. Would you want your loved one to be in bed 5?
- Fewer medical beds in our hospitals
- Longer travel distances in a medical emergency. An extra 18 miles could mean the difference between life and death in a medical emergency.
- More cuts to pay off the £312 million loan that is underpinning Future Fit
- Only one A&E to cover an area 3 times the size of Greater London
You can read more and access 10 facts about Future Fit here.
Divide and Rule
The only way health bosses can pull off this heist, is by invoking the known Tory chestnut of divide and rule.
In an unprecedented show of unity, Ludlow Labour has joined with all 6 CLPs in the county and mid Wales, in rejecting the duplicitous Future Fit process and demanding that we retain both A&Es. Instead of fighting amongst ourselves for crumbs, we’re demanding a bigger cake. Our NHS needs proper funding. Not death by a thousand cuts.
At a recent meeting of our executive, we unanimously agreed a fight back action plan. The next 8 weeks are critical for our local NHS and it’s our chance to show our constituents that we are fighting with them. That we will not stand idly by while our NHS is driven off the cliff by this reckless, duplicitous, Tory endorsed cuts package. The fact that Jeremy Corbyn has supported us in this stance is both gratifying and emboldening.
“Future Fit: Jeremy Corbyn demands both of Shropshire’s A&E departments should stay open”
This was the Shropshire Star headline when Jeremy Corbyn visited the region in 2014. He repeated it when he returned last year during the General Election campaign.
Our executive team drew on our diverse range of skills and worked tirelessly to produce an impressive, punchy, unapologetic leaflet. Your local branch will have copies of this to hand out with the Future Fit surveys.
The leaflets have the dual purpose of urging constituents to reject Future Fit and expose Philip Dunne’s appalling NHS failures. Be it his disgrace at being sacked as health minister, or failing his own constituents, the inclusion of the following Guardian quote reinforces the fact that you can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.
“Stripped of his ministerial mantle, [Philip] Dunne must now return to face the problems in his own backyard. In Dunne’s constituency, Ludlow, a pensioner had to threaten hunger strike to get a bed in a local community hospital and women are afraid to have babies because the maternity unit shuts for prolonged periods of time”.
The closing date for the Future Fit consultation is September 4th. That gives us 8 weeks to mobilise.
8 week fight back action plan!
- Door knocking and pop-up stalls on market day &/or summer fetes: Handing out leaflets and asking the public to fill in Future Fit surveys – urging them to reject both options
- Branch chairs: Will email you dates and activities and invite you to join in
- Car sharing crack teams!: If you have a couple of hours free and there’s a remote area that a couple of people could cover, how about phoning some Labour friends and see if they can engage with those left behind areas?
- Twitter: Future Fit has a twitter account so if you’re on social media, you can get involved there
- Letter writing: Local publications are struggling to survive. Editors can ill afford to alienate readers so if the majority of their letters back both A&Es, it paves the way for more sympathetic coverage. You could use the 10 facts about Future Fit here, weaved into your personal NHS story, perhaps, to back the need for BOTH A&Es.
Upcoming events & activity
The ink on the leaflets is barely dry and mobilisation is in full swing! It would be great if you could make it to any of the following initial events:
- Broseley, Saturday 7th July: Meet outside cafe in the Square, Broseley at 9am (leafleting & survey filling)
- Ludlow, Saturday 7th July: Meet outside the old co-op in Galdeford from 10am to 12pm (stall)
- Bishops Castle, Monday 9th July: Meet in Co-op car park (behind the shop) at 7.30pm (door knocking with leaflets & surveys)
- Bishops Castle, Wednesday 18th July: Meet in Co-op cat park at 10am (until 12pm) – Door knocking with leaflets & surveys
- Bridgnorth, 25th July: Meet outside the Leisure Centre at 3:30pm – Campaigning at Future Fit exhibition
Bulletins and updates
Updates of events & activities, as fed to us by branch chairs, will be posted on our website & by our social media team
Although your branch will send you dates of activities in your area, if none of them suit and/or you want to help elsewhere, feel free to join in with other branches.
No experience necessary!
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done door knocking or helped on a stall before. Many of us have already been out on Future Fit pop ups with Shropshire Defend our NHS and the public reaction has been incredibly positive. Engaging with and being relevant within our communities is why many of us joined Labour. Join us if you can – even if it’s just for an hour. You’ll be amongst friends!
Charlie Scotton-Peters (Chair)