Aug 28th, 2012
By 38 Degrees team
It’s been a long time since over half a million of us originally came together to defend our NHS from politicians who threatened to destroy it. But ever since the health bill went through, 38 Degrees members have always voted to prioritise protecting the NHS.
When we asked what people wanted to see next in the NHS campaign, several strong priorities emerged: fight privatisation, support local campaigning, and work with supportive senior GPs.
These priorities, voted for by 38 Degrees members, have determined where the office team focuses their time and effort.
And while you may not have had so many NHS emails from the 38 Degrees office recently there’s been lots going on behind the scenes. Every day members get in touch with information about what’s happening where they live, and to share their ideas. Volunteers are busy scanning the media for NHS stories and keeping a constant eye out for new threats and for opportunities where people power can make a difference.
Actually, one of the best chances turned out to be over almost before it began. Despite that, it’s fair to say that 38 Degrees members indirectly scored a campaign win.
You might have heard about the privately-run (but NHS funded) walk-in centre in Sheffield that was charging £25 for the treatment of whiplash injuries. Emergency NHS treatment is meant to be free. The office team rang the centre to get more details, and explained who we were and why we were interested. Soon after we got in touch, the centre suspended the charge. Just the idea of a people-powered 38 Degrees campaign seems to have helped change their minds!
38 Degrees members have been making their voices heard in other ways too.Across the country GPs are holding public meetings on the setup of the new NHS, and 38 Degrees members are showing up in large numbers. After attending a meeting in Buxton, 38 Degrees member Beryl said, “The organisers were intrigued as to what 38 Degrees was… there were 43 of us there compared to 6 non 38 Degree-ers!”.
One final thing. Do you remember the member-sponsored reception held for senior GPs? As well as showing that together we could match big corporate money, it led to some important relationships. Several of the doctors who came along have been helping to develop a plan to reach out
Over the next few weeks, there’ll be important work to do on our NHS campaign. Some of it could be easy. Some of it will be among the most ambitious we’ve tried. But one thing will knit it all together – the fact that there are now more than a million of us who know that by working together, we can help make sure we don’t lose the things that are most precious to us.
People power saved our forests. It helped stop some of the worst of the NHS changes. Now, as the government forces through more changes at a local level, we need to use it again to defend our health service from the damage that could be done.