by Usman Aug 9th, 2017
38 Degrees members have put a lot of energy into the NHS so far this year. That’s because the NHS is in trouble. It doesn’t have the funding it needs, which means hospitals are facing big cuts, waiting times getting longer, and patients suffering. 
This blog is a round-up of how 38 Degrees members across the UK are responding to these threats to the NHS with a huge campaign to protect it. I truly believe we’re making a difference, and I want to share that with you.
Over a million 38 Degrees members have already got involved to protect the NHS this year. There’s so much still to do, but I believe the NHS would be in a worse place today were it not for all of us working together.
So please take a few minutes to read about everything we’ve done together, and feel inspired to keep working with millions of other people across the UK to get the NHS the funding it needs to care for all of us.
The winter crisis:
It was a sombre start to 2017. The winter crisis pushed hospitals to breaking point.  Together, we demanded the Westminster government take responsibility and give the NHS more funding.
The pressure from millions of us, the media and our MPs, all added up. After staying silent for weeks, the Health Minister at Westminister, Jeremy Hunt, was forced to admit that the NHS crisis was unacceptable. It proved that responsibility for the crisis fell with him and the government. It fell a long way short of giving the NHS more funding. But it was a step in the right direction, which will make it harder in the future for Jeremy Hunt to dodge responsibility or to pass the blame onto NHS staff. 
Saving services, one-by-one:
38 Degrees members exposed secret cuts to the NHS in England in 2016 called ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’. Since then, thousands of us have been working together in our local areas to make sure no one suffers from NHS cuts. We’re making sure no maternity ward or A&E gets shut, that waiting times don’t get longer and vital treatments don’t get scrapped.
All these local campaigns are adding up to making big change happen, one-by-one. Firstly, the ripples of our 515,000-strong campaign on ‘Sustainability and Transformation plans’ were felt in March. The Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £325m fund so that some of the NHS plans could focus more on improving patient care, not simply plugging a funding gap. 
Dozens more local campaigns are making progress – and winning! Just last week, campaigners in Essex celebrated saving Broomfield A&E. The A&E was set to be downgraded under these cuts plans but 38 Degrees member Andy was worried that people could lose precious, life-saving minutes. So he set up a campaign, got 22,000 people involved and convinced local NHS bosses to protect the A&E. 
Finally, our 228,000-strong plea to the government to stop new cuts under the ‘Capped Expenditure Process’ is having impact. The government immediately halved the amount of money that NHS bosses had to save, which will save a lot of services. 
There’s still a lot of other services at risk though, like A&Es, maternity units, cancer and heart tests. We need to make sure no mum-to-be has to travel miles further because her nearest maternity unit has closed. And to make sure no one’s friend dies before their time because they were denied a vital cancer test. 
It became clear early in the year that solutions for the NHS funding crisis weren’t being discussed enough. So instead of demanding politicians come up with the answers, we took the job into our own hands. 38 Degrees members created the first set of people-powered policy solutions to the NHS funding crisis.
Thanks to the hard work of 38 Degrees members, experts and other NHS campaigners, our ideas had cut-through. Every political party pledged more NHS funding as soon as the General Election was called.  Together, we’ve now got to hold the new government to account on their promise and demand even more.
I’m still worried about the future of our NHS – all across the UK. But I also think there’s a lot to be proud of so far this year – I hope you agree. It can feel hard to make a difference as just one person. But when one voice is joined by millions more, we’re more powerful than any of us could be alone. So let’s keep working together. You, me, and millions of other 38 Degrees members can make sure the NHS gets the funding and help it needs.
PS: Did you know 38 Degrees campaigns are chosen, run and funded by 38 Degrees members like you? Being funded by small donations from thousands of people all over the UK is what keeps us independent. It means 38 Degrees can campaign on what all of us think is important, not what a small group of wealthy donors want us to do.
Please consider setting up a small regular donation, like £2 or £3 a week, to fund campaigns like the one to protect our NHS. It only takes a few minutes to set up: https://link.38degrees.org.uk/NHS-Update-DD