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Mar 22nd, 2012

NHS: bad news

By Becca McCarthy

This isn’t easy to write: it’s bad news. After more than a year of controversy and debate, the government has got its NHS plans through Parliament. Our petition was read out many times, and there were scores of MPs and Lords who gave a passionate defence of the NHS, but the votes were still lost. It isn’t the result any of us were hoping for.

They didn’t totally get their own way. 38 Degrees members – along with doctors and nurses’ groups, medical charities and even some politicians – forced through changes and delays.But while there are glimmers of hope, it’s still pretty grim. Most medical experts still warn that these changes will do horrible damage to our health service.

We came close, and we gave it everything we had. A huge petition. Thousands of messages and phone calls to MPs and Lords. Hundreds of local events all across the UK. Money raised to hire in lawyers and run billboard and newspaper adverts. No one can say that 38 Degrees members didn’t try our best.

Now, in this moment of disappointment, we need to decide what we do next. Shall we carry on our work to protect the NHS? Do we want to keep working together to slow down the changes and reduce the damage to our health service? Or is it time to move on and focus on other issues?

If 38 Degrees members wanted to keep going, it’s likely we could come up with some good ideas for things we could do. Some doctors are even volunteering to stand for election as “Save the NHS” candidates!

Please take one moment to vote YES or NO – are you up for continuing to campaign to protect the NHS?

This is not the first time people power has had setbacks. Those of us who joined millions of others to march against the Iraq war may feel echoes today of another occasion when a different government decided to ignore public opinion. And sometimes it’s tempting to give up and disengage from politics altogether.

But 38 Degrees members have done so much to prove people power can work. To give just one example, this spring many of us will enjoy walking in the woodlands we stopped from being sold off.

More than that, we’re part of a much bigger story of ordinary people standing up for what’s right, all through the ages. Votes for women, the minimum wage, the right to roam in our beautiful countryside. The creation of the NHS itself. Politicians often follow where people power leads.

There are now 1 million 38 Degrees members and we know we can be a force for good in this country. It’s not always easy, and there will be setbacks as well as moments of fantastic victory. But one thing’s for certain – if we keep working together things will turn out better than if we did nothing at all.

Please take 30 seconds to vote YES or NO on whether 38 Degrees should keep going with the campaign to protect the NHS:

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