NHS workers across the country are giving us all a clear message. If we want to save the NHS, we have one opportunity. And it’s the general election. If a Conservative majority is returned, then it will be too late.
Across health sectors, people are tweeting using the hashtag #publicduty. The messages range from GPs, junior doctors, managers, nurses, patients, and carers:
— Alex Ashman (@AlexAshman) April 20, 2017
As a GP I have a #publicduty to tell you the Tories are destroying the NHS I see the effects every day
— Dr Jon Upton (@jonupton10) April 23, 2017
As a manager in the NHS I have a #publicduty to tell you that the Tories are strangling the NHS of resources, ensuring it has no future
— Rachael Cooper (@RachaelMCooper) April 23, 2017
— ?? (@HillieSmith) April 23, 2017
As a nurse I have a public duty to inform you that the NHS has been sold to private companies and doesn't really exist #publicduty
— Mike Peters (@mike_peters8) April 23, 2017
The destruction of the NHS
The Conservative government has slashed services and waiting times have grown. Also, Hunt has waged war on the junior doctors over their contracts, and he has also slashed bursaries for trainee nurses. And this is all against a backdrop of selling the NHS off to the highest bidder, with Richard Branson’s Virgin Care being one of the clear winners.
Things are so bad in the NHS that the Red Cross described the situation as a “humanitarian crisis”.
Despite promises to the contrary, mental health services have also suffered, with services slashed around the country. And things are no better for children. Because cuts to school budgets have meant schools are no longer able to afford child mental health support. Government cuts have also restricted access to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). According to a review [pdf, p4] into services by the Children’s Commissioner in May 2016:
On average, 28% children and young people referred to CAMHS were not allocated a service.
It’s not just the NHS
The message is spreading, with workers in other public sectors also speaking out. These included teachers:
— Simon Ripley (@ChefRipley) April 22, 2017
Also council workers and lawyers:
As a council officer I have a #publicduty to tell you that the Tories have cut your council's funding almost in half since 2010.
— Ashley Dalton (@PieDalton) April 24, 2017
As a public interest lawyer it is my #publicduty to tell you that 7 years of legal aid cuts have our justice system on its knees.
— Bronwen Jones (@barefootbaristr) April 23, 2017
The message is clear:
— Sue Kilroe (@SueKilroe) April 23, 2017
On 8 June, we have an opportunity. And we must grab it with both hands. Because the stakes couldn’t be higher. Not only our NHS but all our public services rely on us getting rid of the Tories. So don’t listen to the politicians. Listen to the workers and service users. Listen to what the people who are struggling in these sectors are telling you.
We all have a public duty. And it’s a duty not to ignore this message. It’s a duty to act. So register to vote; get to the polling stations. And do whatever you can do to get rid of the Tories. Because people’s lives and our services depend on it.
– Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.