Apr 25th, 2012
NHS: Last night
My name is Dr Louise Irvine. I’ve been a GP for 27 years, and a 38 Degrees member for the last two. Last night, I spoke at our patient-sponsored event with some of the senior GPs who have been put in charge of deciding the future of local health services.
Together, more than 22,000 38 Degrees members sponsored the event. Thank you so much for being part of it. It was really quite something. And not just because plenty of senior GPs turned up, despite already having spent all day being schmoozed by private healthcare companies.
The event last night helped convince me that although we didn’t manage to stop Lansley getting his NHS changes through parliament, there is still lots we can do to protect our NHS. Those “RIP NHS” headlines were premature. I think the NHS is now like someone with a chronic illness: if we don’t look after it, bits might start falling off. But right now, the NHS is a living body, and one we’re all part of.
I heard senior GPs say how glad they were that 38 Degrees members want to continue to campaign to protect the NHS. They responded positively to 38 Degrees members’ campaign ideas, and many said they were willing to work with us. I heard speaker after speaker say it’s never been more important for citizens to get involved and make themselves heard.
We know we can make a difference. Now we need to decide together what our priorities are. The 38 Degrees office team have just launched a poll to give all us members a say. I’ve just voted on my favourite ideas – can you take a couple of minutes to do the same?
I’m lucky. As a GP I see every day how important the NHS is and the difference it can make to people’s lives. So I’ve never doubted that the best future for our health service is a people-powered one.
Being involved with the 38 Degrees campaign to Save the NHS showed me how many of us know that our health service is precious and worth protecting. Like most of us, when the government pushed ahead with its plans and ignored our concerns, I felt sad and worried.
But the response from 38 Degrees members since the law was passed has been incredible. Ideas have poured in for ways to continue to support the NHS. The office team has worked through those ideas, and asked NHS experts for their advice on what could work. Now we have a chance to decide which ones to prioritise in the weeks and months ahead.
Like you, I’ve donated, signed petitions, and emailed my MP. I saw the effect of our huge billboard campaign and the thousands of letters and emails we sent to MPs and Lords. I know we’re at our most powerful when we get together to set priorities, plan, and make things happen.
So please get involved in setting 38 Degrees’ priorities for the next stage of the campaign – click here to vote now.
Thanks for being involved,
Dr Louise Irvine
Dr Louise Irvine, is a member of the British Medical Association council and one of the panellists at our event last night.
If you’d like to see more about what happened at the event last night, click here.