Dr Brian Fisher: Why GPs should join the 4 March NHS protest

GPs should get behind the NHS March next month, says East London GP and Socialist Health Alliance honorary vice chair Dr Brian Fisher.

The NHS march on 4 March is an opportunity for us all to show our opposition to government policy on the NHS and social care.

I don’t need to dwell in detail on the devastating impact on the NHS of the government’s continuing austerity. Hospital beds running dangerously hot – as more bed cuts are planned.

Hospital discharges delayed and many that do take place resulting in chaotic, unco-ordinated support. Social care slashed to the extent that elderly, vulnerable people are no longer receiving vital support – and reports that the chancellor will refuse to offer relief

A recent paper by McKee and others suggests that the increase in mortality in 2015 in the elderly might be the result of deteriorating services and care. We do have evidence from across the world that combining austerity with cutting the welfare state results in increased mortality.

It is a bleak picture.

And of course it runs counter to all mainstream economic advice – Keynesian advice, not the advice of Trotskyists. In a situation such as this, we should be investing in infrastructure, not disinvesting.

The NHS should be a prime recipient. There is a four-fold return on investment, with the extra money spent in the local economy, not hidden away in tax shelters. People stay well longer, stay in work for longer – it’s good for everyone.

It is strangely reassuring for an activist like myself to see mainstream newspapers, the BBC and think-tanks shouting the warnings that we have been highlighting for a long time.

We need to go beyond the logic and howl. Don’t stay calm – get angry! Join the march and make your voice heard!

Details of the NHS March are as follows:

  • Saturday 4 March 2017 at 12:00-17:00
  • Assemble 12pm Tavistock Square, London WC1 to march through London to Parliament

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