The outgoing Labour Government instigated cuts of £20 billion in the NHS which the ConDem Government is continuing to implement. More is to come in the autumn public spending review. At the same time huge chunks of the NHS funding cake is being devoured by the privatisation juggernaut.
- The cuts will mean the loss of thousands of hospital beds, while the budgets for nursing, medical and support staff are to be slashed, implying thousands of jobs will go.
- Rental costs from ballooning PFI projects are running at £2 billion a year. £11 billion of new hospitals will cost taxpayers £62 billion; the private Independent Sector Treatment Centres are siphoning off cherry-picked work from the NHS; and primary and community care services – GP practices, district nurses, health visitors, elderly care – are being put out to tender.
It doesn’t have to happen
We are making a film, called Wake-Up Call, which tells our side of the story, one that counters the arguments that there is no alternative to the cuts and that privatisation is value for money and improves services while offering greater “patient choice”. It is intended for use by campaigning organisations and by trade unions. Popular opposition can stop them, as the campaigns to save the Whittington in North London and the Horton in Banbury showed. PFI schemes could be nationalized as many are owned by the same banks that we are the majority shareholders of. We need to keep the NHS as a service of care and co-operation, publicly owned, funded and run.
Who is involved in the production?
Dr John Lister, consultant on the film, is Information Director for London Health Emergency; Anne-Marie Sweeney is a professional documentary film-maker. Among the reviews of her films are: “A moving and inspirational account….. A must for anyone thinking trade unionism is an outmoded concept” (Margaret Prosser National Women’s Secretary, TGWU on ‘Amazon Sisters’ and ‘Needs Must’) and “I loved it! A marvellous film“ (Tony Benn on ‘Amazon Sisters’ and ‘Needs Must’); Peter Cann is a journalist and Chair of the Oxford and District branch of the NUJ; Alice Berkeley is a graduate of Ravensbourne College in London in broadcasting studies and has worked for the BBC and Channel 4; Daniella Clark has worked on documentaries and outside broadcasts and is a member of the Oxford Film and Video–Makers Workshop.
What do we need to make this film?
To make a professional film will cost money for production costs, equipment hire, travel and specialist crew so we will need financial contributions. So far we have raised more than £2,000, with support coming in from unions. But even with much of the crew and research time donated for free we will still need to raise at least £5,000 to cover costs. We hope that your union branch recognises the importance of this film project and will contribute to its success.
Cheques should be made payable to Wake-Up Call and sent to: Wake-Up Call, c/o 111 Cornwallis Rd, Oxford OX4 3NH
Or money can be paid into this account: sort code 08-92-99 account no 654007426