While the government continues with plans to further push the market into all parts of the health service, campaigners against privatisation have responded by issuing a call for a day of marches, stunts and protests on Saturday 14 February.
Activists in Camden, north London, are organising a march to the offices of their local health authority.
Following a victory by campaigners over plans for a privately-run polyclinic in the area, health bosses have proposed a new centre that will be run initially by local GPs but then put out to tender – allowing private firms to compete to run the service.
Candy Udwin, the head of the local Keep Our NHS Public group, told Socialist Worker that the new clinic will compete with existing surgeries whose income is dependent on the numbers of people on their books.
“We hope that every local campaign against hospital closures and privatisation can organise something on the day,” she said.
“As it is Valentines’ Day, our theme will be that we love the NHS – a publicly funded, publicly owned, public service.”
In Tottenham, a few miles north of Camden, activists are also gearing up for action. A vibrant campaign against the handing of a local health centre to the private sector has already prompted demonstrations and sit-ins.
Now patients and health workers are planning to join a local march on the day of action.
There are also plans for action outside London.