Yesterday, despite the glorious (and rare!) sunshine in the hills of the Colne Valley, dozens attended a meeting called for by the Slawit (read Slaithwaite for anyone outside Huddersfield!) Save our Services. Chaired by Pat Jones, the first speaker was from the surgery that had been at risk itself, and GP Dr Paul Wilding gave a good overview of their struggle and victory, however he warned that the shortgae of GP and local care is almost past breaking point, with the NHS England’s Five Year Forward View pushing GP’s into centralised hubs that would spell the end for local village surgeries.
Next was local MP, Thelma Walker, who reassured the meeting floor that she was doing all she can in Westminster to aid the cause of Hands Off HRI, and her frustration at a lack of clarity from the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in avoiding releasing the results of the Independent Reconfiguration Panels’ report into the plans to close down and demolish our 400-bed hospital and replace it with a 64 bed Urgent Care Centre. She also congratulated the campaign on reaching the judicial review and said she was behind us entirely.
Next was another GP, this time Dr Youssef El-Gingihy, author of How to Dismantle the NHS in 10 Easy Steps. He opened the crowds eyes to the fact that the privatisation of the NHS has been ongoing since the yeas of Thatcher, under both Conservative and Labour governments, and the situation we have now is simply the endgame of their strategy, and people must be cautious of anything that politicians say, especially with a hotbed topic like the NHS.