Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Campaigning to save our NHS

by Cllr Jenny Matterface

On Saturday morning a group of us set out our stall in St. Peter's to highlight the threat to our NHS that is Not For Sale or N4S.

Dr.Dick Symonds, a local Labour activist, coined the phrase 'I'm not a commodity. My health is not for sale' and this clearly resonated with the public including many who had turned out to join the renowned Village Tour. Some confusion occurred because the organisers thought we were an unbooked tour but we soon reassured them that we were there to gather signatures on our petition and a number of tour participants signed up to save the NHS. 'John Wesley' was much enthused by our campaign and some 'fusion of time' ensued until we left the 18th century and re-joined the 21st.

Many of those who signed our petition were well-informed about the various u-turns since the original scheme was announced. Our signatories included current NHS staff as well as those who remembered the early days of the pioneering health reforms of the post-war period. Some, like me, had tales of family members, unable to afford treatment, whose health had suffered because their parents or spouses couldn't afford to pay for treatment. Everyone was adamant we must protect a health service that many in other countries envy.

I have friends in the USA who envy us our 'free at the point of delivery' health service. One friend with a very elderly parent has told me what a financial burden it is having to pay for his father's health care now the elderly gentleman no longer qualifies for Medicare. $1000 a month is the cost of his essential diabetes drugs.

None of the controversial policies were in the Conservative or Lib Dem manifestos at the general election in May 2010. They have come out of nowhere and are soon to be put to Parliament. We must all take a stand to defend our NHS that isn't for sale to the highest bidder so if you see us again with our petition and leaflets do join us and let David Cameron and Andrew Lansley know Thanet doesn't support these changes!

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