North East March and Rally for the NHS - 2018

OUR NHS: NO CUTS - NO CLOSURES - NO PRIVATISATION


Saturday 10th March 2018
Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign on the March

On Saturday March 10th campaigners from SSTHC took part in a vibrant march and rally in Newcastle. The event was called by eight local campaigns and the North East Peoples Assembly as part of the fight in the north east to safeguard the future of our NHS against the downgrading and closure of hospital services:

The march from Framlington Place, for a rally at the Monument, was joined by around 1000 people. The rally was addressed by actors Stephen Tompkinson and Denis Lawson. Emma Lewell-Buck (MP for South Shields) and Roger Nettleship (SSTHC Chair) spoke on behalf of SSTHC.

The Rally (led by Dr. Helen Groom and Tony Dowling) was supported (as it was last year) by Bethany Ellen and Ron Brown who we thank for kindly donating part of the money raised from their Song for the NHS to our campaign.
March
Rally

If you liked the excellent song performed at the end of the rally by Bethany Elen and Ron Brown, you can show your appreciation for them and support our campaign at the same time by buying a copy of Song for the NHS.

“All profits from the sales of the track will go to supporting grassroots NHS advocacy campaign organisations including: Save South Tyneside Hospitals Trust (www.savesouthtynesidehospital.org) and Keep Our NHS Public North East (keepournhspublic.com)”

Abridged Transcripts of Selected Speeches

Keith Venables
National Secretary
Health Campaigns Together

...It's great to be back in the North East again. I loved working here in the old days when I used to be a psychologist in this area. So thank you for inviting me.

...I'm only interested in how we are going to win. That's what matters. Our fight is to save our NHS. We want a 'Bevanite' NHS, with no cuts or closures, fair pay to all NHS staff, and a universal publicly owned and publicly provided NHS, that's what we want isn't it?

It's great to have big demos like this, but we need to do more. We need to tip the balance of power in our favour at every level. Even if it means getting rid of this government, and reinstating the NHS. Since 2010 this government have put in place measures to privatise [our NHS], and under-fund it by 22 billion pounds. They and companies like Virgin Care, are determined to have their way, and we plan to stop them.

So what do we do? Health Campaigns Together was set up in late 2015 to respect the hundreds and hundreds of groups across England like this one, organising protests, lobbies and teachings. So we set up a Health Campaigns Together alliance, that those groups can affiliate to, and many have.

What have we learned? We have learned some ways we can win. Firstly, to tell the public in every single way we can. That's number one - tell people what is going on. Secondly, to respect health workers and their unions - caterers, nurses, doctors, cleaners. To form alliances with everyone we can [including]: health campaigns, local and national affiliations from nearly all health unions, and others such as the Fire Brigades Union (who go on demonstrations and say 'we save lives - not banks'), and the teachers unions. Health workers hold our NHS together, despite all the cut backs. We need to all join together in solidarity. ...Thirdly, we need to vociferously challenge all those who make decisions like local councils, commissioning groups, MPs (especially in vulnerable marginal seats), and of course the government. We want victories like the struggle which has been partially successful in South Tyneside in the last few days.

So what is happening? Who caused this crisis? It's caused by underfunding, fragmentation and marketisation. Professor Stephen Hawking said:

“The crisis in the health services has been created by politicians who want to privatise it, when public opinion and the evidence point in the opposite direction.”
Professor Stephen Hawking

On the one hand, there is the force of the multi-national companies driven by their profit motive pushing toward U.S. style private health care for those who can afford it. Instead we need loud voices and the political power to make changes. ...Take Virgin Care, in Surrey they sued six commissioning groups because they didn't get their way. It cost the NHS - that's us - 2 million pounds. But we are building a mighty movement and we are fighting back. Last month in Lancashire, a judge blocked Virgin Care from taking over children's services because it would disrupt clinical pathways - that's about health and care, and education and social care. That's what were fighting for. That is a victory for us and we must fight for more. In Lewisham (London) a campaign and petition turned round a council decision to cut children's mental health services - another victory for us.

The Tories have amplified the commissioner-provider split, and pushed forward legislation recently to bring in faster privatisation. The latest creation of this nonsense is called 'Accountable Care Organisations' or 'Integrated Care Organisations'. But protesters like us, a judicial review and the Labour Party in opposition, have made them put a temporary pause on its implementation. So there's another victory.

So despite the crushing power of the government, there are more victories. Take Chatsworth (in Mansfield - Nottinghamshire) for example. The rehabilitation ward there set up a campaign including campaigners, staff and patients. They insisted that the managers met in the ward, and the campaign stopped the closure. So I'm saying were not here to moan, were here to organise and win. We challenge every level of decision making, every time, from council health-and-well-being to commissioning groups and MPs. We'll work with Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party as we often can these days. We need to replace this government, and we will.

It's really important to build local and national alliances. HCT has strong connections with Unison, Unite, The TUC and other health unions. We have a brilliant website, as does our sister organisation 'Keep Our NHS Public', and I really champion our quarterly newspaper.

...We will fight and we will win.

Emma Lewell-Buck
MP for South Shields

Thanks very much everyone for being here today. I also want to say a special thank you to our hard working and dedicated NHS staff. The porters, the cleaners, the nurses, the GPs, surgeons and consultants, and every single person who works tirelessly every day to make our NHS the envy of the world. The Tories are presiding over privatisation-by-stealth of our NHS. This February has been the worst ever on record for our NHS. A&E performance fell to its lowest level. Our amazing NHS staff are having to constantly apologise to patients for a disaster that is not of their own making. This government are removing services and closing hospitals up and down the country.

  • They are farming out services to the private sector under wholly-owned subsidiaries or planned 'Accountable Care Organisations'.
  • The number of patients waiting more than 12 hours in A&E has risen more than 2700 percent.
  • There are 6 million fewer bed spaces.
  • Over 5 thousand less mental health nurses.
  • Over 100 thousand nurses have quit in the last year.

To add insult to injury, just this week our hard working nurses have been told - if you want a pay rise, make sure you don't loose your holiday leave as well! This government is wasting precious finances on reorganisation and fighting corporate legal battles - such as Virgin who sued the NHS because it lost out on a bid to provide private health care. I've got a message for your Mr Branson, our NHS is not for profit. If you don't like it, go sit on your tax free island and take a long hard look at yourself.

Many of you here today will know of our campaign in South Tyneside. What lots of you won't know is how brave some of the staff have been who have come to me (and Gemma and Roger), putting their own jobs in jeopardy. Working under the subtle implied threat that if they join our campaign, or share information with us, then their jobs are on the line. To them you are the true heroes of this. ...The people power we have in South Tyneside led to yesterdays vote of no confidence in our local health leaders.

Friends, the fight for South Tyneside Hospital is a fight for all of us. No hospital is safe under this government's watch. There is an end game here, and that end game is where our NHS no longer exists. What we need is a labour government and Jeremy Corbyn in No.10, so we can halt the privatisation and so we can repeal the health and social care act, and put patients once again before profit. Labour created the NHS, it's our proudest achievement. Universal health care for all on the basis of need and free at the point use, no matter where you are or where you are from.

I want to end by paying tribute to all of the campaigners across the country, fighting for our NHS. But I want to say special thanks to Gemma and Roger who are leading the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign. We are currently raising funds for a potential judicial review. Please help us. Please donate to us, because this process does not begin and end with South Tyneside Hospital. Do not think your hospital is safe. This rotten government are coming for our entire NHS.

Stephen Tompkinson
Actor (from Stockton)
Drop the Dead Donkey, Ballykissangel, DCI Banks, Brassed Off

Good afternoon everyone how are you? I just want to mention about the underfunding. The underfunding of the NHS is a political decision, that has resulted in huge pressure being placed on all NHS staff, who are desperately trying to keep services going. And for patients, there are longer waits for GP appointments, hours spent lying on trolleys in hospital corridors, rationing of treatments and avoidable deaths. The NHS staff work hard. The problem is underfunding and cuts. The 'Sustainability and Transformation Plans' that the government and local Clinical Commissioning Groups are trying to introduce, will lead to further cuts, closures and privatisation. STP does not stand for 'Sustainability and Transformation Plan', we believe that it stands for 'Slash, Trash and Privatise'. We are extremely concerned and worried about the local Clinical Commissioning Group recommendation to transfer some very busy health departments from South Tyneside General Hospital to the General Hospital in Sunderland. People will have to travel miles for treatment, and many people can't afford this. We are also concerned that there are plans to close the one and only inpatient ward at Rothbury Cottage Hospital, in a rural community in Northumberland.

Now I'm going to ask my mate Denis, to tell you about the 'Accountable Care Organisations', thanks for listening.

Denis Lawson
Actor
Bleak House, Local Hero, New Tricks, Star Wars
Hello everybody, just delighted to be in Newcastle. So, there is no public mandate for the plans the Tories are perusing. No one voted for Accountable Care Organisations (ACOs), and they are not Accountable. They will lead to privatisation. It's really great news that the crowd funder initiated by Professor Allyson Pollock in Newcastle, and backed by Stephen Hawking has enough support to go ahead with a legal challenge. We hope this goes well and we support it. That challenge makes clear to the government, that their plans do not reflect public opinion where the NHS is concerned. They are not doing this in our name.

Clare Williams
Secretary
Unison - Northern Region

...It's absolutely fantastic to be here today and to see so many other people, and of course to have famous faces joining us. The importance of that is getting the message out about what this Tory government is doing with our NHS, and indeed all of our public services. The reality is that the Tories have been lying year on year. They are not funding the NHS, and we're now seeing the impact of their political decisions. That impact includes: waiting lists getting longer, demand rising, people not being able to get treatment and a whole range of other things. This government has the audacity and the shame to blame the NHS staff. It's an outrage that they do that, and we need to make it clear to them that we will not join them in their campaign of trying to demolish the NHS, [which they do by] underfunding it, running it down, making sure there is not enough staff, ...charging other staff to do extra training.

We also need to make sure that we call them out on what there strategy actually is. It's very simple, under-fund it, run it down, say that it's not delivering and then hand it over to Richard Branson and his cronies so they can make massive profits.

...[Consider] the staff in Carilion at Middlesbrough hospital, the lowest paid people doing some of the most important jobs like keeping hospitals clean for people to use, and through no fault of their own, they don't know now if they have a job. If they do have a job, their wages may be cut, and they don't know if their going to get their pension contributions. What we do know is that the shareholders from Carilion, shored up by this Tory government, have taken over a million pounds out. Their pensions aren't under threat. Their wages aren't under threat. It is not right, and that's why it's so important that we have events like this, and as has previously been said, we all come together, trade unions, all public sector workers, and everyone in our communities.

Everyone at some point in their lives will need to use the NHS, lets make sure it's there. This year is the 70th anniversary of the NHS, lets make sure we tell this government that we're not going to let them privatise it, were going to fight them, were going to get Labour in. The NHS belongs to us not to them.

Sarah Carpenter
Health Branch National Officer
Unite the Union

...I'm really proud to be standing in front of you today as Unite's head of health, bringing you greetings and heartfelt thanks from Unite members. We thank you for standing up for the NHS that thousands of our members work in and all of our members use. Without your passion and determination the fight to save our NHS would have been lost long ago. Be in no doubt that it is a fight. Everyday we are hearing new stories about attempts to reduce services, to attack the professionalism of our members, and to privatise our NHS.

In this year of all years, 70 years since the NHS was born, we have seen the growth of some of the very sneakiest attacks on services and workers in the form of 'wholly-owned subsidiaries'. This is where NHS staff are moved over to companies that are effectively a tax dodge for cash strapped NHS trusts. [The staff] are told that it is happening to save the NHS money, well we know that this is just a continuation of what Unite has always called 'Slash Trash and Privatise'. We will fight these plans wherever they rear their heads.

...The NHS cares for us all from the cradle to the grave, and it is being held together from the inside by the dedication and determination of its staff, whilst being continually under attack from a government that fundamentally wants to destroy it. That is why we fight now, have fought, and will always fight for our NHS.

Michael Appleby
Chairperson
Royal College of Nursing - Northern Regional Board
I'm sorry but I'm not a politician. I'm not a celebrity. I'm a nurse, and on behalf of all nurses, thank you very much for being here today and supporting us. At the Royal College of Nursing, we represent nurses across the whole of the northern region and cumbria. ...We all know that the NHS is under massive strain, ...and my colleges on the front line are struggling. They want to deliver high quality care, but are working 13 hours without any breaks, then going home crying because they know they did not deliver the best care that they could have done, because they did not have the time and resources. Our NHS is under a massive attack, and believe me, from the inside we know it is. We also know that in England there are vacancies for 40 thousand nurses.

Geoff Abbot
Stand Up To Racism

...There was something very special that happened last Sunday at the elections in Italy. All the parties were standing on a platform of anti-immigration. As we know, in the NHS, immigration is absolutely crucial to keep the NHS going. So we have to fight this racism that is going on. The Daily Mail goes on about health tourism, but we know that is a drop in the ocean [of anti-NHS propaganda]. What they are trying to do is direct attention away from privatisation.

How do we fight privatisation. I'm a striking UCU member. We've been on strike now for 14 days. We had 2 days the first week, three days the second week, 4 days in the third week, and now the vice chancellors are on the run. That is the way to fight privatisation. ...We need to take industrial action and we need to fight hard. If you have a serious campaign of industrial action you can win.

Dr. Nigel Speight
Keep Our NHS Public - Durham
...I'm a doctor and still working in the NHS. It has been an absolute privileged and pleasure to work in the NHS for 40 years, and to never have to worry about whether the patient I'm seeing has got insurance, or has paid enough, or is covered by Richard Branson's contract. I'd hate to work in any other system. I want to pose a question; Why aren't people more indignant? Why aren't all these people who could be listening to these talks carrying on with their shopping? The trouble is healthy people think they don't need the NHS, and a bigger problem is that when they fall ill, they are still getting an incredible service. So they're very grateful. We know that the older age groups are predominantly voting Tory. Many of you here will have parents, some of you will have grandparents, and about 70% of them vote Tory. I want you to tell them that however grateful they are for their latest hip replacement, things are much too serious for them to carry on, and they have to give up a habit of a lifetime, and stop voting Tory. Then we can possibly get rid of this incompetent mean spirited, hard-right government, which is worse even than Thatcher's. Thank you.

Shirley Ford
Coordinator
North East Green Party
We demand that all the changes of the last 25 years are scrapped. The internal and external market, the PFI deals, privatisation and cuts to services, beds and staff. We totally oppose STPs and ACOs, that are simply a way of trashing our NHS, and replacing it with an American style system - where, if you have the money you can get health care, and if your can't, tough! As well as fighting each and every local battle, from Rothbury to South Tyneside to Hartlepool, Greens are lobbying every MP who has not done so, to sign up and support the NHS Reinstatement Bill. We want our NHS back, and that's the best way to do it.

Gail Ward
Disabled People Against Cuts
...Disabled People Against the Cuts - North East (DPAC) stand in solidarity with those who support our welfare state and our beloved NHS. DPAC have supported our doctors and nurses on the streets, and in their work. Disabled people are high users of the NHS, and we are determined that it should remain free at the point of need. Many lives are saved daily thanks to the wonderful people who work in the NHS, often working long hours, often unappreciated by their bosses. We can't allow this to continue where greedy profiteers gain over those who work in and who use this wonderful service, which is the envy of the world. This is the one service that needs its own life support. Thank you to those who work in it and do best by it. DPAC will always be behind you, fully supporting an NHS free at the point of use.

Emma Brittain
North East People's Assembly
...I'm with the People's Assembly Against Austerity. We stand for taking back public services like the NHS, back under democratic public control, and out of the hands of those who seek to profit from their privatisation. I am a student mental health nurse here at Northumbria, where I can tell you that the sense of dread on campus is palpable. On placements, I have seen for myself the devastating effects of austerity on the most vulnerable in our society, in the most harrowing of circumstances. It is common to see people who are at risk, placed on 12-18 month waiting lists for support that they desperately need. As student nurses, we are urged to promote public health wherever possible. I see no grater threat to public health than the creeping privatisation of the NHS, by this morally repugnant government.

Roger Nettleship
Chairperson
Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign

Thanks very much. I'd like to thank you all for coming out in this weather. It's absolutely brilliant to have a march for the NHS this Saturday in the rain. ...Emma Lewell-Buck spoke on behalf of the campaign earlier on, so I'm not going to say very much. She spoke brilliantly about how the fight has been taken up both locally and nationally.

...I think it is important to say that yesterday the Joint Health Scrutiny Committee (JHSC) referred the decision to downgrade our hospital to the Secretary of State for Health. This means that we can take the battle to Westminster where it belongs, and I think that's our next project. I think were going to lobby parliament as part of our campaign to save these services. The decision the JHSC took was brilliant. They took it on the basis that [firstly] the [outcome of the consultation] was predetermined. Secondly, it is not in the best interests of the health service. Amazing isn't it - NOT IN THE BEST INTERSTS OF THE HEALTH SERVICE. How can their decision be ignored. Members of the committee from both South Tyneside and Sunderland made some very important and damming criticisms showing how deeply they had looked at the evidence. Showing how the proposal from the CCG to decimate our health service in South Tyneside, will have a huge impact on the health service in Sunderland as well. So a very big thank you to them. I have seen one or two of them here.

...I would also like to thank our solicitors. ...They wrote to the CCG before it made a decision and had taken advice from the council. They told the CCG straight away that any decision to downgrade these services on the basis of this consultation is unlawful. The CCG ignored it, and so they are going to suffer the consequences, because we are building a crowd fund to [support] our judicial review in South Tyneside. ...People throughout the North East have been supporting us and indeed throughout the country. I'd like to thank everyone in South Tyneside.

I'd like to give a big thanks to Gemma Taylor our coordinator, Marion Langley (Staff Side Chair, Unison Health Branch, South Tyneside District Hospital), David Donoghue (Branch Secretary of Unite). I'd like to add my voice to what Emma said about our very brave nurses and clinicians who are standing up and fighting every day to defend the service. They are a model for everyone to follow. I'd also like to give a mention to our councillors and MPs who have came up with the goods, and are supporting the campaign, and are making every effort to stop the downgrading of our hospital going ahead.

So now we take the battle forward. We'll take the fight to Westminster. We're preparing to fight on the legal front. So we all need to fight to take control of decisions, we have a right to access these vital services, in our towns and district hospitals. These are our hospitals, our NHS, our workplaces, lets fight together for a direction in society that recognises and guaranties the future of our NHS.

William Jarrett
Save North Tyneside NHS

Save North Tyneside NHS was initiated by members of the Socialist Party and the National Shop Stewards Network, drawing on strong support from Labour-lefts, independent socialists, trade unionists, service users and most importantly - NHS workers. We thank you in particular, those of us who work in the health service, non-clinical and clinical, we're all under attack by this government and its hard-right cronies.

We can echo the words and experiences of health workers from across the region, that there is a climate of bullying and intimidation, and most of all this attack that has been scathingly launched on us by this government determined to see us backed up against the wall even further, burned out and frustrated, whilst we prop up a service that is failing by design.

On the bright side, we scored a victory. We delayed the plans of the CCG to cut, close, and eventually if they could, privatise our walk-in centres until November. We still have time to fight because of the profile of our campaign, [I.e.] how active and visible we have been, the support we have received from KONP North East and Health Campaigns Together North East. We are happy to deliver that solidarity in return. Tangible support.

What we need however is a Labour Party. A Labour-left socialist government determined to stop wholly-owned subsidiaries, to [move] back in-house all those workers who are non-clinical, who are being used by the likes of Carilion and private companies (and indeed by Trusts), that are keeping us in the dark, underpaid and hiring on worst terms and conditions. The derisory and insulting pay offer ...is unacceptable. Organised concerted strike action will not only save NHS workers, it will save the health service.

David McKechnie
Save Rothbury Hospital Campaign
18 months ago. Rothbury Community Hospital was closed by the CCG on the pretext of saving money. Yet this same government gave the DUP a billion pounds for its support. How many hospitals could that money have supported. Since then Katie Scott has led the Save Rothbury Community Hospital Campaign fighting these cuts. Five months ago, the Northumberland County Council scrutiny committee referred the decision of the CCG to the secretary of state. We are still waiting 5 months later for action from the independent reconfiguration panel. We are hoping for a full review. The Save Rothbury Community Hospital Campaign team send love, hope, strength and solidarity to you all. Some of us are physically here with you today, but most of us are leading a local march and demonstration in Rothbury. Keep fighting, keep smiling, justice is on our side. We will win...

Dr. Pam Wortley
Keep Our NHS Public - Sunderland and District

Hi, Sunderland & District Keep Our NHS Public group was launched in January. What took us so long? Actually most of us have been working with the Save South Tyneside Hospital Campaign, to stop the transfer of those vital services from South Tyneside Hospital to Sunderland, which will be extremely damaging and potentially dangerous for South Tyneside residents, and will massively overload Sunderland, making these servies unsafe too.

Public and staff views have been completely ignored, but you've heard about the Scrutiny Committee, they have refferred this appauling decision to the Secretary of State - the only problem is - that's Jeremy Hunt. Anyway, we will coninue with the fight.

In Sunderland we are also concerned about the plan to introduce an MCP - a Multi-Speciality Community Provider. The jargon just gets more incredible. It's supposed to be a new approach, joining up out-of-hospital health and care services. Of course NHS and social services staff have been working together for years before the cuts and the fragmentation of services - which were made worse by to coalition's 2012 Health and Social Care Act, when competition replaced cooperation, and privatisation was encouraged. Our cash strapped local authority (funding for social care cut by over 37 percent), is refusing to put its budget into this MCP. Our local hospitals have also withdrawn support. But the plan is charging ahead. This single massive 10 year MCP contract to run all out-of-hospital services (including GPs and community services) will be irresistible to private contractors and the likes of Virgin.

Government claim that these contracts are needed for the joined up services we all want. In reality they will destroy our NHS. The costs of privatisation - estimated at 4.5 billion per year - are equivalent to 10 specialist hospitals, 175 thousand extra nurses, or over 43 thousand extra GPs. The example of Carillion, shows why the NHS should be restored to being publicly owned, publicly planned and funded through taxation. The NHS crisis is a crisis of this government's making, and this government's choice. Our NHS is not unaffordable or unsustainable, it is underfunded and under-resourced. The UK has the worlds sixth largest economy, but its spending on health care is the lowest of the G7 countries. We were able to afford a decent NHS and a welfare state after the second world war when we had no money. Of course, there is always plenty of money for war!

So what can we do about this dreadful state of affairs? Join KONP and campaign with your local group like ours in Sunderland, check out our facebook page. ...Help defend our NHS, it's our NHS, it's our right.

Rachael Sage
Keep Our KHS Public - North East

I am a nurse. I am a patient of the NHS, and a member of KONP North East based in Tyneside. I think everyone has said this message, but I'm going to say it again. The main message we want to get across today is that this is the time that we all need to take action in whatever way we can. There has never been a time in the history of the NHS were its future has been so desperate. Everything it stands for is being dismantled and eroded. As we all know, from all these amazing speakers, are country is rapidly moving towards a future where the NHS will be run by private companies, ACOs, Virgin Health care [etc.] who's main aim is to make profit. This is how the American health care system is run. A country where life expectancy is reducing, where inequality is increasing, most people can't afford cancer care, and most doctors would rather work in a system like ours.

These changes are complex, and happening silently. Hidden behind abbreviations and terminology. On the surface most people think nothing has changed. Every day I speak to patents, and no-one has a clue what is happening. To save our NHS, we need as many people as we can to understand what is happening, and to take action. Obviously everyone here is motivated and doing things, but we need more people to get involved. ...We need this subject to come alive. So please, we need to talk to as many people as we can. What we're campaigning for is:

  • A cash injection to restore the NHS budget.
  • A commitment to increased funding each year.
  • An end to the cap on NHS pay.
  • The abandonment of plans for further cuts or cash driven closures to NHS services and hospitals.
  • A halt to the imposition of these new models of care ('Accountable Care').
  • A repeal of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, which means reinstating the NHS as a public service, publicly accountable, publicly funded and publicly owned.
What is happening is outrageous. It will affect all our lives, the lives of our children and grandchildren... It is being presented as inevitable. We do not have to accept this. We can stop it. We can save our NHS.

Jon Bryan
National Support Officer
University and College Union

Solidarity and greetings from the University and College Union to this rally. ...Thank you to everyone who has been down to our picket lines over the last couple of weeks. As Tony said, where in a massive fight. UCU members at Newcastle University and Durham University, and universities around the country (64 in total) are on strike over pensions. Our pensions are likely to see a reduction of 10 thousand pounds a year in retirement, and we don't think that's acceptable.

...It's UCU members who teach and train the medical staff of the future. It was fitting that the march today started at the medical school at Newcastle University.

Despite all the changes that have taken place with the Trade Union Act, which has made it difficult for us to take action, we were able to get 90 percent of people voting for strike action, at Newcastle University and Durham University. I think that is testament that we can fight changes that are designed to stop us taking action.

Chi Onwurah
MP for Newcastle North

This reminds me of when we welcomed Jeremy Corbyn at Gateshead Stadium. 10 thousand people in the rain, after that disastrous general election called by Teresa May, where we showed how people do have a vision for the future. Jeremy saw how the North East and Newcastle wants a progressive future.

...Angela Rayner (Shadow Secretary of State for Education) is working on a National Education Service, which will provide free education from the cradle to the grave. That is based upon our National Health Service, the greatest achievement of the Labour government.

...Assaults on pay and working conditions of NHS staff [are driving some to use food banks].

...I've lost count of the number of times we've had to march for the NHS, but we have to keep on doing it because [we are fighting] a plan to under-fund the NHS, privatise bits of it, let competition in, and then the NHS will be so undermined, ...that it will loose its place in people's hearts and they can sell it all off.

...The only way for the NHS to fulfil the vision of its founders, for it to be the NHS we need, is to keep it public. There are some things the market can not do, and guaranteeing the health of poor people is one of them. So what we need to say day-in-and-day-out, is that the NHS needs to be public, it needs to be for the people, and it needs to be in the people's hands.

...In Newcastle we have great hospitals. In the North East we have some of the worst health outcomes in the country. The reason for that is because we have some of the highest levels of poverty in the country. The NHS needs to be properly funded so that it doesn't matter if your born in West Gosforth or Walker, you live the same amount of years. Right now there is a 15 year life expectancy gap.

...I want to assure you that the Labour Party is absolutely committed to funding the NHS properly. I can't say keeping it public, because so much of it is private now, so I'll say MAKING IT PUBLIC AGAIN. In Newcastle GP services are closing because they are having to be contracted for every few years. We have to change the whole system of contracting within the NHS to make sure that it is public.

...Nye Bevan said that 'when a bedpan fell in Tredegar, he wanted it to echo in Whitehall'. That does not happen any more because there are so many layers of different organisations, NHS England, CCGs, all the different contractors. But we're going to change that. We're going to put responsibility for the NHS back where it [belongs]. In the heart of our government, a Labour government.