Socialist Worker

Blair’s blood money should be spent on NHS

Issue No. 2039

Becca Kirkpatrick, a Unison union shop steward at the National Blood Centre in Birmingham, will be joining the anti-war demonstration in London this Saturday.

Last week she helped to organise protests against the closure of blood centres.

Next week she will join thousands to demonstrate in defence of the NHS on 3 March.

She spoke to Socialist Worker about the battle for the blood service and why she links that struggle to the fight against the war: “This country being at war leads directly to cuts in healthcare so I, like many others, will protest against both.

“Every pound of public money spent on weapons is a pound stolen from the NHS, which in turn provides an excuse for private firms to be involved in healthcare.”


Hundreds of NHS workers protested on Wednesday of last week at plans to merge eleven local blood centres across the country into just three “supercentres” in London, Bristol and Manchester.

Becca said, “In the case of a major incident we could be faced with only one blood centre – in Manchester – handling the blood needs for all of northern England’s hospitals.

“The plans will also see up to 600 highly skilled staff being thrown on the scrapheap.

“Our bosses keep repeating the myth that the Birmingham blood centre is not closing. It is true that there will still be one laboratory left, but 90 percent of what we do here will have gone.”

Asghar Ali, an Amicus rep at the Birmingham centre, said, “This is nothing more than cost cutting and I can’t believe that these valuable services are being destroyed by a Labour government.

“If the consultation does not reverse this decision, I think we will have to take strike action.”

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Sat 24 Feb 2007, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 2039
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