NHS: A long shot

It seemed like a long shot. Just a year ago our NHS was bracing itself for one of the worst winters on record, and the government was refusing to give it the extra money it needed. [1] But last week, after more than a quarter of a million of us got involved, we forced the government to lock in an extra £20 billion for our hospitals and GP surgeries. [2]

This wouldn’t have happened without 38 Degrees members like you. People who believe that a properly funded NHS is worth fighting for; who are willing to sign petitions, write to our MPs, or chip in a few pounds to stand up for our health service. You should feel proud.

Here’s what we did together over the past few months to lock in the much needed extra cash for our NHS:

  • Hundreds of thousands of us signed open letters to our MPs, sent emails and tweeted them to demand they speak out for extra money for our NHS.
  • More than 125,000 took a pledge to personally pay a bit more in tax for our NHS.
  • Thousands of us chipped in to pay for in-depth polling and focus groups. We put the findings in a landmark report that proved the public were willing to pay a bit more for the NHS.
  • Tens of thousands of us submitted evidence to the government’s consultation on what should be in the Budget, telling the Chancellor Philip Hammond that we wouldn’t put up with any delays to the money the NHS had been promised.
  • Together, we chipped in for an explosive ad campaign at the Conservative Party Conference. We made sure billboards, newspapers and ad vans were plastered with our message that the NHS needed more money.
  • And when a small handful of MPs looked like they were threatening to hold our NHS to ransom, we came together in our thousands to drown them out. [3]

The government isn’t funding the NHS with the small, fair tax rise that we had been calling for. Instead, they’re paying for it with unexpected extra money from tax that they hadn’t expected. [4] But the fact they gave almost every penny to the NHS, rather than spending it on corporate hand-outs or more tax breaks for the wealthy, is down to our pressure. Together we forced the government to put our NHS first.

38 Degrees-ers have been campaigning for the government to take better care of our NHS for years. This extra funding boost proves that our pressure works. Every email you send to your MP, each petition you sign, or the times you’ve chipped in a few pounds add up to moments like this.

This extra money isn’t going to fix all the problems our NHS faces overnight. Hospitals are bracing for another tough winter. [5] Private companies are still being awarded massive NHS contracts.  [6] The social care system is coming close to breaking point. [7]

Tackling these problems won’t be easy. But what we’ve proven over the last few months is that there are hundreds of thousands of us who are ready to take on the tough challenges for our NHS. Because the NHS belongs to all of us, and we’re willing to fight for it.

 

NOTES:
[1] The Telegraph: NHS hospitals ordered to cancel all routine operations in January as flu spike and bed shortages lead to A&E crisis:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/01/02/nhs-hospitals-ordered-cancel-routine-operations-january/
BBC: Hospitals to delay non-urgent operations:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42541412
The Guardian: No extra money for NHS, Theresa May tells Health Chief:
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/oct/14/no-extra-money-for-nhs-theresa-may-tells-health-chief
The Guardian: Budget’s £1.6bn cash boost for NHS less than half of experts’ advice:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/22/budgets-16bn-cash-boost-for-nhs-less-than-half-of-experts-advice
[2] BBC: Summary of Budget 2018: Key points at-a-glance
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46017125
[3] Read more about the huge NHS ad campaign here:
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/2018/10/02/nhs-making-a-splash-at-the-conservative-conference/
38 Degrees: Open letter to Philip Hammond:
https://38d.gs/open_letter_nhs
38 Degrees: Don’t play games with our NHS:
https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/4403
[4] Financial Times: Hammond confirms additional £27.6bn a year for NHS by 2024: https://www.ft.com/content/882cafa4-db90-11e8-9f04-38d397e6661c
The Budget: “This (Budget) includes funding for a new multi-year budget for the NHS until 2023-24, following the Prime Minister’s June 2018 statement that the NHS budget would increase by £20.5 billion a year in real terms by 2023-34.”
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752202/Budget_2018_red_web.pdf
[5] Daily Mail: NHS fears this winter could be ‘more difficult than the last’ as patients are hit by staff shortages and worsening A&E performance:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6301315/NHS-trusts-braced-winter-worse-year.html
The Guardian: NHS trusts fear this winter could be ‘more difficult than the last’:
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/oct/22/nhs-trusts-fear-this-winter-could-be-more-difficult-than-the-last
[6] The Independent:NHS privatisation soars as private companies win 70% of clinical contracts in England:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/nhs-privatisation-contracts-virgin-care-richard-branson-jeremy-hunt-a8134386.html
[7] Daily Mail: Social care crisis: Councils receive 5,100 new requests for adult care EVERY DAY amid soaring demand:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6308001/Social-care-crisis-Councils-receive-5-100-new-requests-adult-care-DAY-amid-soaring-demand.html