People Before Profit spokesperson Shaun Harkin said:
“People Before Profit will join with thousands of people from across the North in Belfast on Saturday for the mass mobilisation called by the NIC-ICTU to celebrate and defend the NHS.
It’s absolutely right to celebrate the health service’s 70th anniversary and the tremendous work our healthcare workers perform everyday. The ideal of the NHS is to provide free healthcare to everyone from the cradle to the grave.
But the NHS faces an uncertain future. Thatcher was ideologically opposed to the socialism of the NHS and began the process of running it down with austerity and market ‘reforms’. Blair continued this. Tories since Cameron have delivered vicious cuts and opened up more and more healthcare provision to profiteering by powerful corporations
Stormont parties have went along with privatisation and outsourcing. Private companies make huge profits from healthcare here in the North. All of us who depend on the NHS pay the price for decisions made in Westminster and Stormont. Waiting lists are out of control. Social care is being undermined. Our GP’s are struggling. Mental health needs are not being addressed. Our healthcare workers are overworked, undervalued and underpaid.
Access to healthcare is a civil right. All our communities depend on the NHS. It’s neither nationalist or unionist. As a 32 county party People Before Profit campaigns for the establishment of an NHS in the South paid for through progressive taxation. We are for linking the struggles for healthcare North and South.
To defend and save the NHS we need a people power movement demanding an end to austerity and proper funding to secure its future. Saturday can be the beginning of a campaign to turnaround the attack on the health service and push forward the fight to defend all our public services.”