David Cameron lied to the electorate in 2010 about his privatisation plans for the NHS, Unite’s general secretary Len McCluskey will tell a Save our NHS rally in Manchester today (Sunday 29 September).
The Unite leader will tell protesters that the prime minister continues ‘to hoodwink’ the public about the scale and speed of NHS privatisation – and the true nature of the links between the private healthcare companies benefiting from the sell off and the Tory party.
Len McCluskey will say: “David Cameron has lied about the NHS and continues to hoodwink us about the scale and pace of NHS privatisation.
“In 2010, he told the people of Britain that the NHS was safe in the Tories' hands.
“But since then, he has forced through a £3 billion upheaval - without a peep about this is his manifesto, nor a shred of evidence that it would deliver better care.
“In the first two years of his government alone, we lost more than 5,000 nurses.
“Big business has taken billions in new private contracts – and now we have the spectre of NHS funds used to fund shareholder profits – and not treating patients.
“In addition to the £20 billion of savings demanded from the NHS during the course of this parliament, there was £2.5 billion worth of private contracts dished out in the four months from April this year – this figure is set to explode in the coming months.
“Our ambulance service is now under threat. Pathology services are being sold off. Queues in most A&E departments are amounting to 12 hours, with sick people being treated in corridors.
“Hospitals after hospital are chronically under-staffed, with wards shutting – as winter looms we are heading for the biggest crisis to face the NHS for a generation.
“65 years ago, people had the courage to fight for a new and radical alternative. It was the bravest, most humane vision a nation could have for itself.
“We must make certain that the NHS is at the top of the political agenda at the next general election. Maintaining the NHS will always be a difficult task; there will always be new challenges.
“Its survival depends on one thing, and one thing alone: if there are people with the political will to fight for it.
“And I say to private healthcare, you had better not get too comfortable - for this is our NHS and we will take it back.”
The rally, under the auspices of the TUC, is expected to attract 30,000 protestors, as delegates gather for the Tory party conference in the city.
For further information please contact Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665 869, Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or Unite NHS campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146777.
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.