Last weekend, more than 50,000 people marched on the Conservative Party conference in Manchester in defence of public sector services.
People attended from all over the country, including hundreds travelling by car, coach and train from Newcastle and the north east.
Whilst the notion of cuts to public services is not new and was highlighted as a recurrent theme in the subsequent news items reporting on this event, the situation is undoubtedly more grave than it looks at first glance for our NHS service.
The Health and Social Care Act became law last year, despite strong public and professional protest.
This Act has exposed our NHS to a market in healthcare services, with private companies and third sector organisations now bidding for contracts to provide specific clinical services that were previously provided by the NHS.
This is a clear fragmentation and dismantling of our universal healthcare system; profits will come before people, as private companies and organisations take over clinical care.
The NHS was 65 this year; Happy birthday NHS – or NHS RIP?
The Manchester rally also coincides with an event much closer to home.
North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group has now placed a tender out for the future provision of primary care psychological therapies in North Tyneside from April 2014. This will affect the many thousands of people living in North Tyneside who suffer from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems.
Instead of the current well established NHS, the way is now open for private businesses and organisations to bid for this contract, and potentially take over this service.
This tendering process is under way, and a decision will be made by North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group in the next few weeks as to who will provide our future healthcare.
Happy Birthday NHS? Please stay public for us all.
Keep Our NHS Public