Press Release: Weekend of events to explore past, present and future of NHS

Tuesday, 14 June 2016 09:29
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Press Release - Stroud Against the Cuts – 03/06/2016.

Weekend of events to explore past, present and future of NHS

For more information or images, contact James Beecher: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it | 07734 058789.

Can we afford the NHS? Is privatisation a threat? How can we defend local health services from cuts? In 2011/12, Stroud Against the Cuts successfully fought privatisation of community health services in Gloucestershire [1] – and they have organised a weekend of events from 17th-19th June to discuss these questions and raise funds for their activities.

The ‘Healthcare for all’ special NHS weekend of events will take place at the Stroud Valleys Artspace from Friday 17th-Sunday 19th June. Organisers Stroud Against the Cuts say they hope the exciting programme features something for everyone – with debate, film, art, talks, workshops, music, comedy and activities for children arranged. All weekend there will be an exhibition at the Line Gallery in John St - "How Come We Didn't Know" - featuring Keep Our NHS Public member Marion Macalpine's series of photographs exploring the hidden privatisation of our NHS [2].

The main event is a day of talks, workshops and stalls from 10am-6pm on Saturday 18th - including workshops on researching privatisation, community campaigning, and organising in health and social care workplaces. The full timetable of the day is still to be confirmed, but health workers and expert speakers will feature in a panel debate, and a keynote speech will explore the past, present and future of the NHS. Among the speakers will be research group Corporate Watch, a member of the Protect CCHP campaign which successfully fought privatisation of children's NHS services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, and Caroline Molloy - Editor of campaigning website OurNHS openDemocracy.

Alongside a variety of short films, the group will also screen Michael Moore's insightful, funny and touching documentary SiCKO, exploring health systems internationally and the health insurance industry, on Saturday night (7-9pm at Stroud Baptist Church round the corner from SVA). Further entertainment comes in the form of HEARTBEAT! A night of comedy, video and music at the SVA, John St. on Friday night – run in chatshow format by Joe Reeve as Elvis and featuring Jonny Fluffypunk, Stroud’s female improvisational trio Brewhaha and psychology lecturer and author Dr Carl Walker’s ‘Picked Up, Patched Up and Sent Home’ show – as well as music from Stroud Global Beats. A ‘Doctors and Nurses’-themed closing party will be hosted by the popular Vine Club on Saturday night (tickets £7 / £6 in advance).

James Beecher, one of the organisers of the event with Stroud Against the Cuts said: “Recently we’ve seen the minor injuries unit at Stroud Hospital closing overnight 67 times in five months [3], and junior doctors taking unprecedented strike action against threats to patient safety and their working conditions. Further massive cuts are on the way, pieces of the NHS are being handed over to private companies, and care of patients is starting to suffer as a result. We’ve been involved in a successful campaign to defend NHS services locally, and we hope this weekend will help people understand what is happening, inspire them to take action – as well as providing an opportunity to celebrate the benefits the National Health Service has provided us with over the last 68 years”

Details of the NHS weekend are available on SATC’s website, and further information about each of the events is available on Facebook: How Come We Didnt Know? NHS Privatisation Photographic Exhibition Friday 17th -Sunday 19th June, Heartbeat! A night of NHS Comedy, Video & Music - Friday 17th June, 7pm – late, Saving our NHS - workshops, talks & stalls - Saturday 18th June 10am-6pm, SiCKO - Stroud screening of Michael Moore doc - Saturday 18th June 7-9pm, Vine Club- Doctors & Nurses – Saturday 18th June 9.30 – late.

Notes for editors:

1. Stroud Against the Cuts is a community group established in December 2010. Background on the successful campaign to keep Gloucestershire Care Services and NHS Trust.

2. Marion Macalpine is a London-based photographer who combines art photography with community and political issues. Marion Macalpine's website has further information about the exhibition.

3. For more information on overnight closures of Stroud Minor Injuries Unit, see reporting by the Stroud News and Journal and Stroud Life.