Saturday 15th February 2020
Day of Action
It certainly was a true winter day on the National NHS Winter Crisis Day of Action, giving out the new campaign leaflets and getting signatures on the Keep Palliative Care in Jarrow Petition (Facebook) at the Nook and in King Street, South Shields.
Despite the relative media quiet, this is currently the worst winter crisis on record. On this day, SSTHC was not alone, with campaigns across the country (organised by KONP and Health Campaigns Together) fighting to keep the pressure on to raise awareness of what NHS privatisation is doing to our health services.
In South Tyneside and Sunderland, the crisis of access to health services (which can be understood as both an end and a means of privatisation) -- exacerbated by the Path to Excellence -- has led to instances of insufficient beds being available to admit seriously ill patients to Sunderland Royal, making services less safe, and this is before local health leaders attempt to downgrade services further in phase-2.
Dr Julia Patterson blames over 10 years of austerity (ideologically driven public service cuts) for the bed shortages at Sunderland, but as alluded to above, NHS bed and medical staff shortages not only drive public disillusion with the NHS, softening-up those with financial means to choose private options, but NHS bed and medical staff shortages also drive Hospital Trusts to purchase beds and treatments in the private sector for NHS patients - a win-win for the private sector, and is just one example of how this long-term government strategy to privatise our NHS works.
A big thank you to Kay and girls, Simon, Lynn, Shirley and Maddy for coming out in such dreadful weather, and of course, thanks to all those who supported our work.