We want to thank all the 100 or so people that made it a brilliant turn-out in Birmingham yesterday for the Rally against the ‘Procurement for Health’ conference. We made it clear to delegates (and the public) through our leaflet that ‘procurement’ is not a dirty word per se – the NHS needs supplies and it doesn’t need to be ripped off.
The reason we turned up to the ICC is that the organisers were using terms such as “Get into this market worth £20bn” and ‘Never let a good crisis go to waste”. Clearly this was not about the NHS not being ripped off but ripped apart, systematically, as private companies move in to cherry-pick: this event was not just about supplies for the NHS, but about taking services off the NHS.
By a combination of organisation and sheer good fortune, members from the Birmingham TUC Health Campaign Committee/KONP Group and Solihull KONP utilised the services of Alan Taman, the KONP National Press Officer to build upon the concerns of groups as far afield as Brighton and Yorkshire as well as the National Health Action Party to send out national press release rallying cry which resulted in such a good turnout.
So as well as Birmingham TUC Health Campaign Committee/KONP Group and Solihull KONP, we were supported local 38 Degrees/People’s NHS supporters, Bromsgrove and Redditch Green Party and KONP supporters all the way from Brighton, North Wales, Calderdale/West Yorkshire and, locally, Worcester, as well as the National Health Action Party (some of whose members went in to the ‘Procurement’ conference at the ICC to cause a little ‘upset’).
The actual demonstration itself looked fantastic! Many groups had brought banners which looked phenomenal and, along with the 38 Degrees’ ‘I Love NHS’ orange T-shirts which were distributed on the day, it was a very colourful event on what was a very sunny day, with many members of the public going through the ICC building during a ‘Music for Youth’ event.
We made an impact on the procurement delegates with our leafleting and chanting – the organisers had already ‘toned down’ the content of their programme to reflect our concerns. There was a clear message from the demonstration – “Our NHS NOT their NHS” and we hope to be able to replicate this success in the future.