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Campaigners urge public to fight for the NHS on its 72nd birthday

THE core values of the NHS are being “undermined by privatisation,” campaigners have warned as they urged the public to fight for the health service on its 72nd birthday. 

Trade unionists, politicians and doctors paid tribute to the NHS on yesterday afternoon, 72 years after it was founded on July 5 1948.

The anniversary comes in the middle of the service’s most challenging year, in which it has treated over 100,000 Covid-19 patients and lost more than 300 members of staff to the virus. 

Speaking to an online rally organised by the People’s Assembly, former Labour MP Laura Pidcock hailed the creation of the NHS as the “most magnificent of political campaign achievements.”

However, she warned that the service was now being undone by a “political determination” to see it transformed into an Americanised system.

Keep Our NHS Public campaigner and doctor Sonia Adesara told viewers that the values of “compassion and equality” on which the NHS was founded are being undermined by “those who want to profit from ill health.” 

She said: “We’re at a crossroads now, and I do not want to go back to a system where we have people dying on trolleys, to a system where 9.2 billion of NHS money goes into the pockets of the private sector, to a system where hundreds and thousands of NHS workers are on private outsource contracts.

“So let’s rebuild the system and let’s have that radical vision of health, justice and equality for all.”

GMB organiser and former nurse Helen O’Connor called out the privatisation of NHS logistics, which she argued has “obstructed efforts to get PPE into hospitals” and contributed to the deaths of hundreds of healthcare workers. 

“The problem with accepting cuts and privatisation in the NHS is that cuts and privatisation cause harm to patients that kills patients and now they're killing NHS staff too,” she said.

“We can have a good healthcare system that can cope with a pandemic or we can accept cuts and privatisation of the NHS — we cannot do both.” 

People across Britain were encouraged to clap for the NHS today afternoon to mark its birthday and to thank staff for their work in combating the coronavirus pandemic.

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