By Steve Carne, Apr 19 2018 07:00AM
Blue skies and sunshine reflected the buoyant mood of campaigners as around a thousand gathered outside the Leeds Art Gallery on the morning of Saturday 14th April. Groups from across the region came to show their love and concern for the NHS and march through the streets of Leeds.
The energy and commitment of NHS defenders shone through in their voices and colourful banners.
At the rally after the march, Leeds KONP generously gave 999 Call for the NHS the next-to-the-last slot in the speeches, to remind everyone about our upcoming Judicial Review -just down the road at Leeds High Court on Tuesday 24th April. The rally ended with a speech by Labour MP, Alex Sobel.
As the march wound its way through the city centre, 999 Call for the NHS campaigners handed out hundreds of invitations to our Judicial Review and rally on 24th April,
Talking to passersby was surprisingly easy as there was genuine interest in our case. We were able to explain clearly we are opposing the new draft contract that NHS England have proposed - which we think will lead to denial of care and a two tier system. People nodded and asked about NHS England’s attempts to “workaround” the law by encouraging Accountable and Integrated Care without asking Parliament to legislate for this massive change to our NHS and social care services.
We were encouraged by the enthusiasm of campaigners to support our rally outside the courts before we go in to observe the proceedings. Campaigners from the local area and from Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Teeside and London have all made it known they want to be in Leeds to support our case because it really does affect all of us. A Leeds choir has volunteered to sing outside the court to welcome campaigners and public.
Our Accountable Care Duck helped to explain the technical aspects of our Judicial Review and aroused a lot of curiosity. ACO DUCK helped confirm to people that no matter what NHS England, NHS Providers, local councils and other partners call their collaborations to form new models of care - if it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, it’s a duck! They can give it any name they like to disguise it but the move to a Whole Population Annual Payment system like the one contained in the draft Accountable Care Organisation model contract means only one thing - a drastic reduction in care and a further move to a two-tier health service where those that can afford it will turn to private health and the rest of us will have to do without.
Leeds KONP member and NHS paediatrician John Puntis reminded campaigners to tell their local councillors and candidates in the May 3rd Council elections that they put a stop to the setting up of Accountable/Integrated Care systems.
Many councillors of all political persuasions do not appear to really understand the grave situation they are allowing to develop as Councils endorse and advance the implementation of Integrated Care Systemsor they feel unable to take a stand because of party agendas. We share this call in our #NSH4ALL campaign, calling on Councillors to put a stop to Accountable/Integrated Care Systems or Partnerships. It is vital we do not allow local democracy to be ignored.
The day in Leeds was a positive one as it was clear that all our efforts and those of campaigners in repeating clear messages about the dangers of Accountable Care were beginning to resonate and be understood. It left us looking forward to our day in Court on Tuesday the 24th April and seeing familiar faces gathered outside joining forces to protect our NHS as a comprehensive healthcare service for those who need it.
Find out more about our Rally outside the Courts on Tuesday 24th. 9 - 10am
Oh... Rosa? Well it was Roas Luxemburg who said this. Let's keep doing it as loudly as we can.