16 September 2020
At the Keep Our National Health Service Public demonstration on Saturday 12th September, NHS workers all over the country turned out to support the NHS but also to call for recognition of their demands for better pay and conditions. John Tutton, an NHS mental health support worker for 15 years, who is also a Green Party activist in Poole, made an impassioned speech.
A link to his Youtube video will be posted here soon, but in the meantime, here is a transcript of his speech.
"Hi. My name’s Jonny. I’ve been a Mental Health Support Worker for more than fifteen years. I’ve also spent a lot of time travelling the world, visiting all sorts of different countries, developing, developed, you name it, and I can’t tell you how precious the NHS is and how fortunate we are to have it. I’ve seen the health care in other countries, how degraded it is in some, and how desperate they are there. I’ve also seen how expensive it is in other countries such as the US and the biggest fear for me is that we will lose what we have with the NHS and we will move further towards privatisation where we will stand the risk of either having to have an operation or keeping our house, and I don’t think anybody should have to go through that.
"What we want is better pay and better conditions for our staff. We’ve been mistreated for so long, we’ve been taken advantage of because of our compassion, because the Government feels we’ll be quiet, we won’t stand up and shout and we won’t go on strike because we care about the patients, but actually, ultimately, they will push us towards that in the end, because we do care about the patients, and when we’re understaffed, underpaid, overworked, overstressed, we’re not able to give the best that we can to the patients – to you, the public – and if we’re treated better, we’ve got better morale, we’ll have better staff retention, we’ll have better employment, people will come flocking to the NHS because it’s a wonderful institution to work for, which, don’t get me wrong, it is, and I’ve met some of the best people in my life, patients and staff, and I’m so fortunate to have it.
"So today I’m here to fight to keep the NHS, and to fight for better pay and better conditions for all workers, be it cleaners, admin, support workers, staff nurses, managers, everybody. We need, we need your support, we need better conditions. Thank you."