‘Health and social care services must remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery’.
That was the message that Workers Party members brought to the ‘Save Our NHS’ rally, organised by NIPSA, at Belfast City Hall yesterday.
A properly funded health and social care service designed to deliver quality outcomes is central to a humane and decent society: but those principles are far from safe and secure.
There must be an end to ‘creeping privatisation’, to the outsourcing of health and care services and jobs to the private sector. Vested interests, including the vested interests of private healthcare, must be confronted and challenged.
But for as long as the major parties at Stormont put ‘red lines’ and pet projects ahead of people’s health and well-being, that is not going to happen.
Report after report shows that health inequalities in Northern Ireland have been persisting at the same level or worse for the past ten years.
Health inequalities have a number of root causes, but poverty, unemployment, low pay, educational under- achievement and the lack of decent public housing all feature as key factors.All of these factors are compounded by a political programme of austerity and privatisation
We can continue to ignore our health needs and watch hospital admissions grow out of control, patients die on trolleys and the system go into melt down, or we can address the problem by reclaiming our health and social care services and bringing them back into full, publicly funded, public ownership.