On Saturday 16 June about 60 people gathered for a "Resist NHS Privatisation and Cuts" meeting at South Bank University, London.
John Lister of Health Emergency gave a detailed overview of privatisation and its consequences, emphasising that the Health and Social Care Act comes together with £20 billion of "efficiency savings" in the NHS.
His main message was that we can't let this happen behind closed doors. We need to do all we can to pile on the pressure and make the implementation of the Bill as difficult as possible.
The second speaker Frank Wood, Unite Exec member and hospital worker, focussed on the already extensive privatisation of the NHS, reading out a list of the services in his hospital that have already been privatised.
Workers suffer worse terms and conditions under private companies. At his hospital when workers were transferred to a private company, cleaners were forced to bring their passports in three times in six months.
The union responded with a poster campaign saying "They're not terrorists, they clean the hospital."
One worker was sacked for using some milk for porridge. The workload has increased, and many cleaners end up in tears trying to meet their targets.
The privatisation has also led to a de-regulation of industrial relations as trade unions now have to meet with 5 different employers. Many of the managers refuse to meet with local trade union reps, preferring to meet with national officials who presumably don't show the same level of hate for profiteering scum.
Frank ended by laying the blame firmly at the TUC's door, arguing that there was a lack of sharp politics. The publicity for the 20 October march against austerity is symbolic of the general woolly, vague politics that aren't going to win us anything.
A speaker from the RCN, defended the RCN's weak position on the Act, while pointing to the private services that have failed and have been brought back into the NHS.
The final speaker, Elly, a medical student looked at the implications for training and education in the health professions and spoke passionately about the need to mobilise young people around the defence of the NHS.
There was a lively debate from the floor, showing a general orientation to building locally, while co-ordinating nationally, valuing direct action, but not underestimating the importance of fully understanding the issues and convincing people that the privatisation agenda is real, and wrong.
Keep our National Health Service Public meets for its AGM and an activist conference on Saturday 23 June. It could be an important day for building the campaigns against cuts and privatisation which are urgently needed.