Manchester Rally Concludes week of Campaigning and Celebration in defence of NHS

NHS-Rally20130704_0021It was standing room only at a packed rally to celebrate the NHS’s 65th Birthday in Manchester Town Hall on Friday 5th July. A fitting end to a week of celebration and campaigning, UNISON General Secretary Dave Prentis joined a panel of speakers including NHS staff, Debbie Abrahams MP and trade unionists to assert the need to defend our National Health Service.

Condemning the cuts imposed on the NHS by the coalition Government, he told campaigners that UNISON would stand up for NHS staff and services:

NHS-Rally20130704_0085“The frank truth is that the NHS budget has been cut and hospitals are being told they must make £20bn in so-called efficiency savings.

This is all at a time when demand on the NHS is increasing – there are more patients, more costly drugs and therapies and an increasingly ageing population, with complex medical needs.

And patients must come before profits, with taxpayers’ money being spent on improving care, not going to enrich the shareholders of private healthcare companies or on employing expensive and unnecessary management consultants.

At Unison’s own conference a couple of weeks ago I called on the TUC to organise a mass rally in support of the NHS at the Conservative Party Conference.

We are already mobilising branches for the lobby in Manchester on September 29.

We will be taking our message to the heart of the Tory Party that they mess with the NHS at their peril.”

NHS-Rally20130704_0105Emphasising the need for a repeal of the damaging Health and Social Care Act which has accellerated privatisation and marketisation within the health service, he said that Labour must be steadfast in its commitment to repeal the act if elected to power, paraphrasing the words of NHS founder Aneurin Bevan:

“Bevan once said that the problem with those who stick to the ‘middle of the road’ is this – they get run over. I’m concerned that Labour currently seem to be sticking to the middle of the road.”

Debbie Abrahams MP said a future Labour Government would repeal the Government’s health reforms, but stated that it may need to work with ‘existing structures’ brought in since 2010 to avoid ‘another top-down reorganisation’.

UNISON North West has been hosting celebrations this week across our region, at NHS workplaces from Chester to Carlisle. Below are some of the best photographs from events throughout the North West.

IMG-20130705-00261 IMG-20130705-00255 IMG-20130705-00060 IMG-20130705-00058 IMG-20130705-00055 IMG-20130705-00052 IMG-20130705-00051 IMG-20130703-00180 IMG-20130703-00175 IMG-20130703-00171 20130704_124939_1 20130704_124930_1 20130704_123919 20130704_121500_1 20130704_120738 20130704_115632_1

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