Unions, representing millions of working people and their families, will be protesting against the accelerating sell-off of the NHS to profit-driven private healthcare companies at the Conservative party conference in Manchester on Sunday 29 September.
The three biggest unions in the country - Unite, Unison and the GMB - have announced today (Thursday 20 June) that they will be at the forefront of community protests to highlight the public's increasing concern at the piecemeal dismantlement of the NHS for the benefit of companies, such as Virgin Care and US private health providers.
As Tory MPs and delegates gather in Manchester, the unions will rally the public to reinforce the message that private healthcare companies will be helping bankroll the party's conference.
The move comes as the wealthy G8 governments, which gathered this week in Enniskillen, launched efforts to further deregulate public services, which are certain to push the NHS deeper into private hands and imperilling its universal, free at the point of use service.
The trade unions will be calling for the immediate halt to the privatisation of the health service which is enshrined in the coalition's Health and Social Care Act - and a cessation to the handing out of contracts to companies that put shareholder profit before patient care.
The unions point out the predatory interest in lucrative NHS contracts of the giant Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), co-owned by the assets management firm Bain, whose profits helped fund the right-wing Republican presidential bid of Mitt Romney last year.
As fears mount that government 'reforms' could see NHS disappear in its present universal form by 2015, unions in Manchester will reflect public opinion in demanding a halt to the sell-off process.
There are also concerns at the crisis in accident and emergency units; the £20 billion of cuts imposed by the so-called Nicholson challenge; and the mounting NHS job losses, particularly in the nursing profession.
The protest will mark the culmination of a summer of events by unions to mobilise opinion to save the NHS in this its 65th anniversary year, as a universal service for all, free at the point of delivery to all those in need.
In a joint statement calling the mass rally, the Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, Unison general secretary Dave Prentis and GMB general secretary Paul Kenny said: "If this government felt that its Health and Social Care Act last year would be the last word in the debate on the future of our NHS, then ministers are sorely wrong.
"The people of this country do not want a health service run by the same global boardrooms that have brought misery to every other public service, such as the energy industry, that they have got their hands on.
"We pay for this NHS to be different; to serve the public, and to ward off the twin fears of illness and poverty. There is simply no place in our health service for business to profit from the misfortunes of others. This is the message that will ring around Manchester on 29 September.
“We will be demanding that a future Labour government repeals the act as a top priority – and this should be a warning to potential private companies not to bid for contracts.
"This issue will haunt this government all the way to the ballot box in 2015 when voters will see through the false promise that David Cameron made in 2010 that the NHS would be 'safe' in Tory hands."
The unions say that they will work with the Trades Union Congress and its affiliates to ensure the full weight of the trade union movement stands squarely behind this landmark event.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 or Unison head of press & broadcasting Mary Maguire on 020 7388 6609 or 07771 548957 or the GMB press office on 07921 289 880 or 07974 251 823.