HEALTH WORKERS across the UK have thanked people for the “Clap for the NHS” show of appreciation last night, 26th March. And now the medics’ campaign Medact has issued a list of actions which the public can do to help support the NHS in these critical times.
Medact is very aware that public health is affected by social factors – housing, income, other public services – and by politicians, who decided funding and targets. The campaign has issued an open letter addressed to MPs and the leaders of political parties setting out a range of measures which could form a socially just response to COVID-19. Drafted just before the lockdown, it calls on politicians to “work together to ensure legislation is passed the protects everyone’s wellbeing now and through the duration of this crisis.”
“Our public health is only as strong as our economic and social fabric,” explains Medact, commenting on the UK’s response to COVID-19. “We cannot win this fight if we fail to address the underlying social and economic issues trapping people, families and communities in cycles of poverty, poor health and despair”.
•Sign the Medact letter to MPs:
Medact is not alone in recognising that much of the public money being spent to tackle COVID-19 is falling into the pockets of private industry (and its shareholders). Medact wants the public to be told the truth about funding. The campaign is asking everyone to tweet this text – today, Friday, 27th March if possible – filling in whether you are a medic or a user of NHS services:
“No one should be profiting from providing healthcare at this time of great public need. As a ___________, I’m supporting @We_OwnIt’s call on @MattHancock to be transparent about the deal he’s struck with private healthcare providers: https://weownit.org.uk/blog/open-letter-matt-hancock-private-healthcare-announcement”
Free universal healthcare – including migrants
The principle on which the NHS was founded – that healthcare should be free to everyone at the point of need – has been eroded in recent years by successive governments which have tried to cost treatment and limit entitlement. The “hostile environment” approach has seen migrants’ access to health care being curtailed on the basis that NHS care should be free for born and bred UK citizens rather than everyone who lives here. The counter argument has always been that treating everyone is necessary if you want to keep the whole population healthy. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it very clear that viruses don’t discriminate, even if governments do.
Medact has set out the basic arguments in favour of allowing migrants access to health care and some of the myths, as well as suggesting some actions you can take to campaign for a return to that universal principle.
•To read more about the campaign and access Medact resources, go to:
Supporting migrants’ access to healthcare
•For more information about Medact and its campaigns, go to: