Loud and clear from the North East

We need emergency investment now to rebuild a publicly provided NHS, deliver pay justice for health and care workers, and end private interests in the NHS. 

The speakers at the February 2022 “SOS NHS” events in the North East tell it as it is at Newcastle Grey’s Monument, Tynemouth Longsands and Sunderland Seaburn Beach. One day = three rallies.

SOS NHS 3 venue images

Julia Charlton, Senior Lecturer in Nursing (retired):
“Beyond this Spring, we will need legislation and change at the top to re-establish a fully publicly funded and provided national health service, protected from private companies who put profit before patients. We need a national care service, and we need to make the NHS the default provider for health service provision. 
The NHS was once the best health care service in the world. It can be again. This Government has shown it won’t change course without pressure from below: but U-turns have occurred. It’s up to us to pile on that pressure”.
Click here for the full speech, Tynemouth, 26.2.22


Julia Charlton at Tynemouth Longsands, 26th February 2022

Gail Ward, Organiser for “Disabled People Against Cuts” and “Protect Tynedale NHS”:
“We all need a healthcare system to be provided free at point of use, not the two tier systems that operate in USA and other countries. Integrated Care is not the answer to social care that many need and it’s not only the elderly, it is disabled people too. Many disabled people will be denied insurance on basis of  pre-existing conditions. Are you really going to allow that to happen? All our lives are precious. 
If we don’t stand up for the NHS now, then we will lose it”.
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Tynemouth, 26.2.22

Gail Ward 2

Gail Ward, pictured at a previous rally

Laura Murrell, Keep Our NHS Public Sunderland and District:
“If money can be raised to be wasted or to support a struggling private sector why can’t it be raised to invest in the NHS and build a stronger better public sector. But no – instead Rishi Sunak’s spending review locks in underspending on the NHS until 2025. It’s not good enough. Our NHS deserves better. Let’s actually do something to make the call for building back better mean something. 
We must reverse the 6 million plus waiting lists, stop patients dying in the back of ambulances outside hospitals because there are no beds, or forcing people to wait all night for an emergency ambulance for a suspected stroke only to be told in the morning that they have to drive 34-mile, a one hour journey, to that county’s only Accident and Emergency Department.
The NHS was once the best health care service in the world. It can be again.”
Click here for the full speech, Seaburn, 26.2.22

Laura Murell

Laura Murrell at Seaburn, 26th February 2022

Roger Nettleship, Chair of “Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign”:
“The necessity is for a public healthcare system that is human centred. A human centred system is where health staff and the communities engage to provide health and social care that is accessible to all day and night. For a modern borough like South Tyneside with a growing population 160,000 plus it is not acceptable that our hospitals do not provide full maternity services, a consultant led Children’s led A&E and and A&E with all the acute services necessary.
It is the people who should decide. They are our hospitals, they are our workplaces and it is our NHS. Health care is a right!”
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Seaburn, 26.2.22


Roger Nettleship at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 26th February 2022

Dr Pam Wortley, retired GP and member of the “Socialist Health Association”:
“The Health and Social Care Bill is the greatest threat to socialised healthcare. The NHS will be broken up into 42 regional bodies, where even emergency care is no longer guaranteed. The private sector can sit on NHS Boards, with powers to decide what care to provide, based on finances, not clinical need. Deregulation of professional staff, and national pay, terms, and conditions, and pensions will be threatened through local pay deals to cut costs. Hospitals will no longer need to do social care checks before sending patients home. It will allow contracts for private profit, fragment the NHS, and make it harder for patients to obtain the care they need.
We will not allow our service to be privatised and sold off to American companies; America, where millions of people, unable to pay get no care or are forced into bankruptcy.
This must be stopped”.
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Seaburn, 26.2.22

Pam Wortley

Dr Pam Wortley at Seaburn, 26th February 2022

Dr Helen Groom, retired GP, NHS campaigner and member of the “No to Hassockfield Campaign”:
“What horrifies me is that over the last few years, as a country, we seem to believe that there’s nothing we can do to stop the increased privatisation of the NHS. We can. We need to start giving our politician’s very clear and unambiguous messages…. So where are we now. We have a demoralised NHS workforce who understand that their employers, the government, are more interested in lining their own and their mate’s pockets than in supporting them to provide the best services. We have hospitals and ambulance services who have been stretched to their limits. Staff are exhausted and demoralised. Many are leaving in droves
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Tynemouth, 26.2.22


Dr Helen Groom at Tynemouth Longsands, 26th February 2022

Tony Dowling, Chair, North East Peoples Assembly:
“I get very annoyed these days when it seems that the person popping up everywhere to supposedly defend the NHS from this Tory government’s attacks is none other than former Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt!! So I just want to remind people a little about Hunt.
Jeremy Hunt took over responsibility for the NHS in 2012 and was the longest-serving Health Secretary in history. By the time he left the post 6 years later, patient experience and staff morale had both taken a dramatic turn for the worse across many key indicators. The British Medical Association reported that by 2018 “the winter crisis” has truly been replaced by a year-round crisis. There were three times more patients waiting over four hours to be seen in A&E when Hunt left office than when he took over. Hunt oversaw years of historically low funding increases – around 1%, compared to an average of 6% in the years between 1997 and 2010, and compared to the 4.3% recommended by the Office of Budget Responsibility.
But perhaps most damagingly, he oversaw a significant cut to the amount that hospitals were paid per procedure. Meanwhile, it’s been quids in for the private companies routinely used to provide beds to make up the shortfall – Virgin Care, for instance, won almost £2 billion of contracts during Hunt’s tenure! Hunt’s legacy was: missed targets, lengthening waits, crumbling hospitals, missed opportunities, false solutions, funding boosts that vanished under scrutiny, and blaming everyone but himself. 
That is the real story of Jeremy Hunt. So please remember that next time you hear him waxing lyrical and being given a free-pass all over our uncritical media! And we really should not be surprised. Because back in 2005, Hunt co-authored a book called ‘Direct Democracy’ which stated that: “Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision” and that the NHS was “no longer relevant in the Twenty-first Century.” In effect, calling for the denationalising of our NHS!
Jeremy Hunt is no defender of the NHS. Like all Tories he tells ‘Tory lies’, so any defending of the NHS and fighting for the NHS is down to us”.
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Tynemouth, 26.2.22


Tony Dowling at Tynemouth Longsands, 26th February 2022

Sean Fahey, Regional Secretary, North East Pensioners Association:
Re: Health and Care Bill / ICSsThere however seemed to be no comprehensive workforce strategy, no forecasting of supply and demand and no independent scrutiny/provision of this to allow for the needs to be fully funded and met. This is supposed to be about devolution and reduction of bureaucracy from the centre but the Secretary of State has introduced amendments which allow for direct intervention. 
Re: Alternative Health Systems as in the USAThese are failed schemes. They cost double our, main source of household bankruptcy and the 3rd source of death in the system is medical error”.
Our Best System The NHS. Publicly funded by tax, publicly run and open to all at the point of need
Click here for the full speech, Newcastle and Tynemouth, 26.2.22


Sean Fahey at Grey’s Monument, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 26th February 2022

Message of support from Kate Osborne MP (Jarrow):
The fact is however that the NHS is in crisis and under severe pressure. Staff are working long hours, exhausted by the last few years and many not receiving fair pay. The NHS is not being funded properly, services are being privatised and there is a huge backlog of patients. Locally, we have seen a dissemination of NHS services being cut or moved out of South Tyneside Hospital. That is why we must now all come together, and support SOS-NHS’ demands.
We need emergency funding of £20billion to save lives this winter. We need investment in a fully publicly owned NHS with a guarantee of free healthcare for future generations. And we need fair pay for NHS workers. Thank you all for coming along today and for all you do in keeping pressure on the Government surrounding these demands. 
Click here for the message in full. to KONP Sunderland and District 26.2.22

Kate Osborne MP Jarrow

Kate Osborne MP (Jarrow)

We are grateful to our other speakers – Joe Kirwin (Councillor and chair of North Tyneside health scrutiny committee), William Jarrett (Unite, Newcastle Hospitals Branch), Jude Letham (Keep Our NHS Public North East), Grace Dowswell (Psychologists for Social Change), Stacey Richardson (NHS Staff Voices, North East Peoples Assembly), and others. Thank you.

For a report on all of the NE “SOS NHS” events, please click our News page here and scroll down to 26th February 2022.
For guest blogs from North East poet Joan Hewitt about the Longsands event, click here (for poetry at Longsands) and here (for reflections)
….and click here for more info about the “SOS NHS” national coalition of health campaigns

sos nhs events

(1) Approve emergency funding of £20 billion to save lives this winter
(2) Invest in a fully publicly owned NHS & guarantee free healthcare for future generations
(3) Pay staff properly: without fair pay, staffing shortages will cost lives 

Who’s NHS??

011A4564 (2)


With heart from Newcastle, Tynemouth and Seaburn

KONPNE meets monthly via Zoom: Join in with the Campaign, ALL are welcome – click here for details

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