Walk for the NHS on August 22nd and 23rd – Used by us, Owned by us, Loved by us. Now the NHS can only be saved by us.

Only Clowns Would Close Our A&Es, is the message from members of the public who are Walking for the NHS from Calderdale Royal Hospital to Pinderfields Hospital, via Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and Dewsbury District Hospital on 22nd and 23rd August.

The aim of Walk for the NHS is to make all 3 NHS Trust Chiefs aware that the public will not accept any downgrading of services, loss of services or back door privatisation of our NHS.

Let alone their intention of preventing any public consultation on plans to shake up the NHS in Calderdale.

Walk for the NHS will join up with the national Call 999 for the NHS People’s March when both groups arrive at Pinderfields hospital at 3.30pm on Saturday 23rd August.

Everyone is welcome to join some or all of the Walk for the NHS feeder march on any of the stages.

Walk for the NHS organiser Katherine Horner said,

“I created the walk because like the 999 Call For The NHS ladies, I am concerned about the future of our NHS. I’m worried about the cuts our local hospitals Trust wants to make. Would I be happy sat in an ambulance with one of the kids going all the way from Halifax to Huddersfield if they close Calderdale A&E?
Also on a national level, do I believe we should have a two tier health care system – one for the haves and one for the have nots? I don’t!!! But this is the way things are going, unless we do something about it.  Do I believe my children are entitled to a health system which will not be dependent on how much money they have? I do.
So, parent to parent, look at your kids and think about what NHS you want for them.”

Only Clowns Would Close Our A&Es walk in Halifax, February 2014

Where and when people can join Walk for the NHS

Walk as far you can – half a mile, 1 mile, 5 miles or the whole route!

Friday 22nd August

  • Calderdale Royal Hospital, Dryclough Lane at 9am,
  • The Pavillion in West Vale around 10am.
  • Huddersfield Royal Infirmary at around 12 noon
  • Huddersfield Town Centre (outside the train station) at around 12.30pm for a packed lunch break and a brief rally with speeches from Paul Cooney, health worker and member of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public.
  • Set off again around 1.30pm
  • Pass through Robberttown around 5pm
  • Arrive Dewsbury District Hospital around 6-6.30pm for a brief rally addressed by  North Kirklees Green Party member Adrian Cruden.

Paul Cooney, a health worker and member of Huddersfield Keep Our NHS Public, said,

“We’re walking to defend the most important and effective public service which benefits every one of us regardless of wealth or class; it’s worth fighting for.”

Saturday 23rd August

  • Start from Dewsbury Town Hall at 9am, with a rallying call from Pontefract Councillor and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Paula Sheriff
  • 10.30am stop at the Wakefield Road Coop in Flushdyke, who are kindly donating water, fruit and biscuits to Walk for the NHS walkers.
  • Arrive at Pinderfields Hospital at 3.30pm to meet up with the main People’s March for the NHS as they arrive from Leeds. Simon Cope of North Kirklees Green Party will speak.
  • Walk back to Wakefield Cathedral for the 4.30pm People’s March for the NHS rally.

Simon Cope said,

“I am taking part in the march to bring attention to the scale and speed at which the government is dismantling the very foundations of our health service. We had the last government needlessly creating markets within our NHS, and now the current government is selling off the family silver to their mates. The march demands that the dismantling of OUR NHS stops right now.”

Christine Hyde, who lives in Dewsbury and is walking from Dewsbury to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, said:

“It is a very large bone of contention that the public, and others, consider that Pinderfields does not have the capacity to do the job the ‘Authorities’ are expecting it to do now that Dewsbury hospital cuts are kicking in.
“My mother was born before the National Health Service was created and if nothing is done, I am going to die after it is demolished. It will not have lasted 2 generations.”

Paula Sheriff said,

“I’m marching for the NHS on Saturday 23 August because I truly believe that the NHS is our country’s greatest asset. It is the envy of the world and provides exceptional value for money. It is devastating that, as we speak, our NHS is being decimated and with the current government’s privatisation agenda, being sold off to the highest bidder.
Until last year I was an NHS employee until my own service was privatised so I know only too well the implications of the recent Health and Social Care act. As Nye Bevan once said ‘the NHS will last as long as there are folk left to fight for it’. We must take a stance and do everything we can to protect our NHS services, including those in Dewsbury which are currently under threat and show that our NHS is not for sale.”

The NHS needs your support!

There are threats to all four hospitals that Walk for the NHS will visit.

Dewsbury hospital services are already being cut and services transferred into the community under the untested “Care Closer to Home” scheme.

In Calderdale and Huddersfield, NHS Chief’s proposal to cut acute and emergency hospital services has met with widespread public opposition as well as a unanimous vote from Calderdale Council asking the NHS chiefs to withdraw their proposals, since they are unfit for the people of Calderdale.

All the shake ups aim to close A&Es and cut acute hospital services and replace them with a new system of care in the community that’s based on a model used by the American private health care company, Kaiser Permanente.

This is despite the fact that the NHS is reliably judged to be the most effective and cost effective health system in the world, while the American system is notoriously expensive and unfair, failing to provide adequate healthcare for people who are on low incomes, or too ill to be covered by private health insurance.

Core principles of the NHS are under serious threat

The three core principles of the NHS are now under serious threat:

  • The NHS will meet the needs of everyone
  • It will be free at the point of delivery
  • Health care will be delivered according to clinical need, not the ability to pay

The recent removal of the legal requirement for the NHS to provide services free of charge, and to everyone who needs them, means that unless we can reverse this new Health and Social Care Act, increasingly the ability to pay for private treatment – not the patient’s clinical need – will determine who can access health care.

Members of the public would would like more info about Walk for the NHS can email the organiser Katherine Horner at katherine.horner@blueyonder.co.uk

Walk for the NHS is supported by Calderdale Trades Council

Correction 16 August An earlier version listed Jo Lawson as a speaker but this was based on Plain Speaker’s misunderstanding. Her name was only included on the list as a result of a mix up for which Plain Speaker takes full responsibility. I apologise for any problems and annoyance this has caused to Jo.

Please consider downloading and displaying this Walk for the NHS flyer in your window, workplace or other public place

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.