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Protect our NHS new Frome group launched to save the local NHS

A ‘Protect Our NHS’ group has been launched  in the town and is already gaining wide support. 

Local campaigns have been set up in cities and communities across England and Wales to defend what they see as the growing privatisation of the publicly-owned and publicly-accountable NHS. Now, support has gathered enough locally for a Frome ‘Protect our NHS’ group to be formed.

Last week Mike Campbell, coordinator of the Bristol ‘Protect our NHS’ group, joined the audience at the Westway Cinema to see Ken Loach’s ‘Spirit of ’45’ and to support the launch of a ‘Protect Our NHS’ group in Frome.

Mike said, “It is fantastic that towns such as Frome with its local community hospital are forming campaigning groups.

“It’s essential that local community NHS services are defended as they are equally vulnerable to privatisation. Many of us close to the health service believe that bad press is also deliberately orchestrated by the government to undermine the service’s credibility.”

The Frome group is being supported by the mayor, cllr Peter Macfadyen, who believes that Frome is “fantastically” served by the NHS and the Frome Medical Practice.

Rebecca Yea from Frome is also supporting the new group. She said, “The group is still forming but the support from the town has been very encouraging and it seems there is a lot of people who want to be involved. At the recent Ken Loach talk more than 100 people showed an interest.

Mike added, “The reality is that the government has spent £3billion on a top-down reorganisation of the health service with private companies continuing to bid for huge NHS contracts. The NHS budget has been cut by £20billion, one in three hospitals face a financial crisis, and accident and emergency services are struggling to cope. At the same time, numerous services are being outsourced to private companies for profit.

“Over £10billion of NHS funding has been used to purchase healthcare in the past year from private and independent providers such as Virgin and Care UK. This sum is rising by £1billion per year.”

‘Protect our NHS’ grew out of a petition set up by the 38 Degrees website in 2012 to oppose the privatisation of the NHS – it received almost 8,000 signatures from people across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Mike says he believes that one proposal which will further protect the NHS, is for a local council to take a strong position against privatisation. This, he says, would ensure that its local Clinical Commissioning Group (in this case Somerset) listen to and take account of the views of patients and the public in their decision making, and monitor all decisions to put local health services out to tender to private, profit-making companies.

Mike concluded, “The NHS is one of our greatest treasures – it’s universal and free for everyone. But less and less is becoming free and we think it’s a scandal that private companies are making a profit from providing NHS services – we have to wake up to what’s going on and stop any further encroachment on the NHS.”

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