NHS documentary spells out threat to future of the health service

A documentary film appearing in cinemas across the UK next month tells how the NHS came into existence and became a part of our national identity - but is now under threat as never before.

GPs, other health professionals and patients are being urged to sign up to attend one of 50 screenings taking place across the country of Under the Knife - a 90-minute film that warns the publicly-funded NHS has been 'systematically dismantled and undermined'.

The film uses archive footage to look back at the creation of the NHS in the wake of the second world war and its survival over the following seven decades, before turning its gaze to the impact of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act.

It warns that the 2012 Act implemented by former health secretary Andrew Lansley was the culmination of three decades of 'covert, creeping privatisation' of the NHS. The film looks too at campaigns to defend the health service - notably the successful campaign that forced Mr Lansley's successor Jeremy Hunt to back down over plans to downgrade Lewisham Hospital, in London.

It also hears from leading doctors, NHS activists and policians, including Dr Phil Hammond, Tony Blair, John McDonnell, George Monbiot, Lord Owen, Gina Miller, Michael Mansfield QC, and Dr Lauren Gavaghan.

NHS warning

The film's director Susan Steinberg said: 'Like many people, I wanted to understand how we got into the mess we are into today and what we can do about it. Focusing on the NHS, the institution that has been called our national religion, Under the Knife tells that story.

'It’s vital to understand the problems and solutions to an institution that has reached breaking point - an institution that is fundamental to our democracy.'

The film, produced in association with Keep our NHS Public and with support from a crowdfunding campaign and donations from health service unions, has been backed by filmmaker Ken Loach - who called it 'a weapon in our struggle to save the NHS'.

He said: 'There should be details of the film in every hospital reception, every GP’s waiting room, every community centre.'

The film will be shown in 50 locations across the UK from Brighton to Dumfries from 14-19 October, and is free to attend.

* Click here to watch a trailer for Under the Knife

* Click here to register for a free ticket at one of the screenings

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