3 November 2013
Pic: Keep the NHS public -Caroline Lucas MP and local councillor Phelim Mac Cafferty on save the NHS march in Brighton
Greens showed strong support for keeping the NHS in public hands and services free at point-of-use yesterday at the Sussex Defend the NHS march and rally in Brighton.
Party members and elected representatives including Brighton MP Caroline Lucas joined hundreds of campaigners, trade unionists, NHS staff and patients, alongside representatives from other political parties to demonstrate against the privatisation of the NHS.
The rally at Brighton’s Victoria Gardens also highlighted the £30 million of cuts year-on-year imposed on the local NHS Trust running services at Brighton & Hove’s main hospital, the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
Caroline addressed the rally to wide acclaim, saying, “Almost 5,000 nursing jobs have been lost since David Cameron entered Downing Street, and 1 in 10 hospitals in England are understaffed.
“Yet the NHS is being asked to find £20 billion of so-called “efficiency savings” in the NHS by the end of 2015.
“That means that not only will the Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust have to cut £30 million this year, it will have to cut £30 million next year, and the year after.
“Hospitals need more investment, more doctors, and more nurses - not cuts.”
A leaflet highlighting the Green Party’s concerns in more detail is available here and points out that the previous Labour government signed off more than 100 NHS Private Finance Initiative schemes, valued at £11 billion.
Most contracts are now owned offshore, meaning the profits are also beyond the reach of British tax collection.