Doctor S. Banu is a General Practitioner. She spoke of her experiences in the National Health Service and the need for a fight to defend it.

I was the treasurer of the British Medical Association Ealing division. I only resigned recently due to my health and work.

I worked for the National Health Service for many years and now I work privately because NHS work was extremely difficult.

NHS practice for an ordinary GP is quite a tough job. I am older and I am a grandma now. I have a little granddaughter. I thought I should do little bit less work now, but basically my heart is in the NHS.

I am totally against the government plans to close down Accident and Emergency units (A&E’s) in London hospitals. My friends, my colleagues and I feel that this will not be good for the people in London.

Urgent Care Centres which they plan to replace the A&Es will not have the facilities or the highly qualified staff that A&Es have. People will have further waits before they are transferred to far off A&Es. Some people will die in the ambulance.

I think that the big companies are dividing up the NHS and they are out to make a lot of money from it. These private companies have nothing to with medicine and they do not have the expertise. They will have very few doctors advising them. On the whole, the services provided after the privatization of the NHS cannot equal the service it provides. The NHS was the best health service in the world a few years ago and it’s been run down deliberately by those in power.

There is widespread public anger against these closures. The leader of the council is in favour of keeping the Ealing Hospital open, but we need all our four hospitals to be kept open including the hospitals in the other parts of London, like Lewisham. We want the A&Es to be kept there.

I think there should be a UK-wide campaign and different outlook. We need a socialist and communist outlook to defend the NHS rather than a capitalist outlook. I do not believe fragmented struggles will be helpful. Workers do have to unite. A general strike would be very, very good and would make the bosses sit up and think about the way they are going.

Look at Greece. Look at other countries. Look at the right wing fascists who want to obliterate or deport all the ethnic minorities and who are exploiting the situation. It’s really frightening. Extreme poverty and other social problems can mean that the young people who do not have jobs and a living can go anywhere. It is happening in the north of England to a certain level as well. The media is responsible partly for that.

I wish you success in building action committees and launching a wider struggle to defend the NHS.