Save Our Health Service (1977)

Transport & General Workers Union Pamphlet

 

Foreword by Jack Jones: "Our National Health Service is under attack" - by those who wish to destroy its very nature and refuse to fund it properly. The TGWU submitted evidence to a Royal Commission which was examining the operation of the NHS, the largest single employer in the UK.

This evidence concerned the problems of financing the NHS, particularly its underfunding with regards to a lack of hospitals and limited provisions for the elderly, the disabled and in mental health. The TGWU reaffirmed a commitment to keeping the NHS free and without direct charges, a criticism of the 1973 re-organisation of the NHS which set unnecessary boundaries for care and introduced more bureaucracy into the system. The pamphlet also outlined suggestions to democratise the NHS so that workers are involved in the running of the service, recommending independent trade unions electing representatives to become authorities within the NHS. It recommended a radical re-allocation of resources to tackle regional disparities and various health crises facing the country. It also noted that increasing charges for dental and optical healthcare are 'scandalous' as it discourages working people making full use of the NHS, health and safety in the workplace should be improved and that workers in the NHS are being underpaid. The case is made that the NHS should move towards not just treating illness but the prevention of illness too. This pamphlet is timely in that the struggles it outlines, in regards to the funding and functions of the NHS, are fully relevant today.