Protest over NHS cuts and privatisation

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Protesters object to the so-called transformation plans © Rhys Edmondson.

Protestors object to the contentious transformation plans. Pic by Rhys Edmondson © JMU Journalism

Groups of demonstrators gathered at Liverpool’s Cunard Building to protest against NHS cuts and privatisation last week.

“Fight back Joe, social care needs saving,” was the message from Liverpool Socialist Singers to Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson on Thursday.

The Singers were joined by Merseyside Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and Merseyside Pensioners Association in a 100-person-strong demonstration.

Also in attendance were Liverpool Against the Cuts and the Trade Union Council, who joined the effort to lobby the Health and Wellbeing Board. The Board were meeting to discuss the Cheshire and Merseyside Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP).

NHS England explained that these plans seek to change how local NHS services are run in order to make them more suitable for the future.

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But Merseyside TUSC argue the plans will see £900m of cuts to the region as well as the partial introduction of privatisation.

The overhaul could also see several hospitals in the area merged in a bid to close a £1bn funding gap by 2021. Those at risk include the Royal Liverpool, Liverpool Women’s and Aintree hospitals.

Liverpool Socialist Singers had a message for the PM. Pic © Rhys Edmondson.

Liverpool Socialist Singers had a message for the PM. Pic © Rhys Edmondson.

Larry Bowl, from Merseyside TUSC, told JMU Journalism: “I totally oppose the NHS cuts, as you would expect as I’m a trade unionist. The NHS was found by trade unionists and the Labour movement. We don’t want you to pay and that’s why we are here today. No payment, no privatisation, no cuts. That’s what we’re about.”

But it was the Liverpool Socialist Singers who had the strongest message, targeting their lyrics specifically at the Prime Minister, branding her a “Tory fat cat”.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “We are committed to the NHS which is why we’re investing £10bn in its own plan for the future, including £4bn extra this year to transform services and improve standards of care.”

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About Rhys Edmondson, JMU Journalism