Peter's Column - the NHS demo

Peter Kavanagh's column - the NHS demo

02 March 2017

The NHS – a cornerstone of British society

It is 69 years since our NHS came to life in 1948 in Manchester, at what is now known as Trafford General Hospital. Instantly, the service became the UK’s third highest employer with more than 350,000 workers.  

Now, with more than 1.7 million people employed in the service it is the world’s fifth largest employer, coming in just under McDonalds which has 1.9m workers. 

It’s no exaggeration to say the NHS has become one of the cornerstones of British society. It was depicted in the London Olympics opening ceremony, along with the industrial revolution, as a key element of what defines our nation today. 

Its founder, the then Labour Health Minister, Aneurin Bevan, once said: “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means.”
This is the priceless gift we were given by the Labour Government of 1945 – free healthcare at the point of need. 

Witness the shameful debacle currently occurring in the US where Republicans are trying to dismantle Obamacare, even as thousands of Obamacare recipients stand up at public meetings to say ‘I would not be alive today without Obamacare.’ 

And yet despite the love the British people have for the NHS successive British governments have chipped away at the base of this mighty oak that is the NHS, with repeated cuts disguised as reform. Now, so great is the damage that many – including its workers – fear for its very survival. 

This coming Saturday March 4 hundreds of thousands of us will march to Westminster to let our politicians know that enough is enough. Our mighty oak, our NHS, the institution that has raised and protected every single one of us from cradle to grave is not negotiable. 

So please join me along with thousands of others, including members, activists and staff from Unite, as we march to protect one of the cornerstones of British life. 

If we succeed in protecting the NHS - you may never do anything as important again in your lifetime.


Save Our NHS demo
Saturday March 4
Assemble 12 noon Tavistock Place, WC1

(For those who are interested – the world’s largest employers are:
1.US Department of Defense - 3.2 million
2.People's Liberation Army (China) - 2.3 million
3.Walmart - 2.1 million
4.McDonald's - 1.9 million
5.UK NHS - 1.7 million)