'NHS is a treasure – don’t sell it'

May 30 2014

SAVING the National Health Service is a prime concern for a group of local campaigners.

SAVING the National Health Service is a prime concern for a group of local campaigners.
Bishopston resident and campaign co-ordinator, Mike Campbell, is part of the 'Protect our NHS' group, and has been campaigning since 2012 against the perceived sell-off of the service to private companies.
Mr Campbell - who was born the year before the NHS came into practice - said: "The reality is that the government has spent £3 billion on a top-down reorganisation of the health service with private companies continuing to bid for huge NHS contracts.
"The NHS budget has been cut by £20 billion, one in three hospitals face a financial crisis, waiting lists are growing and Accident and Emergency services are struggling to cope. At the same time, numerous services are being outsourced to private companies for profit."
'Protect our NHS' grew out of a petition set up by the 38 Degrees website in 2012 to oppose the privatisation of the service - it received almost 8,000 signatures from people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
The broad-based group - which includes current and former health sector workers - believes that the NHS is heading towards an American-style private insurance-based health system, which would be "very bad news" for anyone on a low income. They also believe that if NHS funds are being used to pay shareholders of the private companies, there will be less money to spend on caring for patients.
Mr Campbell - a retired probation officer and former social care training manager - claims that large companies from the United States want to run English hospitals, but it will cost a lot more, for a less efficient service.
He added: "Many of us close to the health service believe that bad press is deliberately orchestrated by the government to undermine the service's credibility.
"The NHS is one of our greatest treasures - it's universal and free for everyone. But less and less is becoming free and we think it's a scandal that private companies are making large profits from providing NHS services - we have to wake up to what's going on and stop any further encroachment on the NHS."
For more information about the Protect our NHS campaign, visit: www.protectournhs.wordpress.com, or email protectournhs@gmail.com

Protect Our NHS campaigners protest outside Emersons Green Independent Sector Treatment Centre run by private company, Care UK