Tom Franklin, chair of York Green Party, spoke at the Save the NHS rally in York on Saturday, saying:
I am delighted to see you all here today. Whilst the war in Ukraine is very serious it is no excuse to stop campaigning on other issues as we are doing today.
The Green Party believes that the National Health Service should be free at the point of use and funded from general taxation at a level around the average for the EU. We currently spend about £2989 per person compared to the EU median of £3663, which means that the health service needs a 22% increase to bring it up to that average.
What we are seeing instead is exhausted staff leaving meaning that the remaining staff have to work even harder to try to deliver a service. We have also seen a huge real terms cut in staff pay, with further cuts on the way and with staff facing the National Insurance rise, higher fuel bills and general inflation.
The government is fiddling while the NHS burns. We do not need more reorganisations and privatisation by stealth we need a properly funded health service that can deliver.
Let me talk briefly about mental illness, and I use the term advisedly we don’t tank about physical health when someone is ill, we talk about the illness. Mental health services are so poorly funded that they are not able to deliver. People with serious mental illnesses can only get any sort of treatment if they are hospitalised as either voluntary or involuntary patient. I have seen people receive no care for many years except when they get so bad that they are hospitalised, and even then they may get no treatment. I know of clinical commissioning groups that commission no services for people with autism.
What we need is greater democratic control of a properly funded health service that respects both patients and staff.
The government cuts and the government reorganisation are a way of handing more money to their friends and backers leaving less money to pay for a health service.
We are heading towards an American style health service where only the very wealthy and the employed can afford to be ill.
If you are young you will not be able to afford to get ill.
If you are old you will not be able to afford to get ill.
If you are self-employed in the gig economy you will not be able to afford to get ill.
We must fight for a better health service, and oppose government frontdoor and backdoor cuts and privatisation.