Our NHS is something that most of us cherish, and even more of us are aware that currently it is in crisis. Our NHS is the country’s largest employer and deals with 1m patients every 36 hours. Our government has always had an immense task in designing the systems that govern this vast service. It is hardly surprising that the political issues that are now threatening the service are as far from being black and white as they are from being few in number. But our media is also failing to even attempt to give the population a fighting chance of getting to grips with it all.
I care massively about the NHS, it frightens me so much to think of living without it. So, I have set up an East Sussex Save the NHS campaign. The NHS birthday on the 5th July seemed a very appropriate time to set up the campaign’s first street event.
This event tried to give a simple message which was “The NHS is not failing, it is being failed by the politicians we elect. The only reason it is not failing is due to the hard work and dedication of NHS staff.” We were at Banker’s Corner on three separate days in the run up to the NHS birthday. We asked members of the public to sign a birthday card for the NHS and say thank you to its staff.
The people of Eastbourne were fantastic. So many people of all ages were signing cards and expressing their gratitude for the care they have received. We delivered 244 birthday cards to the Eastbourne DGH on the 5th July. Everybody who signed a card was also handed a flyer which told them a little about the campaign group and why we were running this street event.
Our NHS has been failed by all our politicians. But right now, the threat to its future has never been greater. Our population is ill-informed, I recognised this at the street-event through the conversations I had at the time. This is not because our population is failing, it is because our media and our politicians are failing.
This campaign will hope to inform the public and inspire people to fight for the NHS. Nye Bevan, Secretary of State for Health as the NHS was founded, said at the time: “The NHS will last as long as there are enough folk left with the faith to fight for it.” We can’t any longer just leave it all to our politicians and hope for the best. Our NHS needs us to fight for its life in the same way it has fought for many of our lives.
For every person that tells me our country cannot afford the NHS I would say that our country cannot afford to be without the NHS. We still have a healthcare system that is admired across the world and it is down to us to make sure it stays that way.