By Lucette Davies

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2021 many people will also be thinking good riddance. Particularly those who work in health and social care and those who have suffered with Covid-19.

So surely as we embrace the new year we need to seriously think about how we can make sure this is a happy new year. We need to take stock of what we care most about and what we want from 2022. It is only then that we will be able to forge a plan to achieve our goals.

Happy New Year cards are often sending wishes that the new year will bring health, wealth and prosperity. The words are in that order because without health we can’t get wealth and prosperity. People can also find happiness, pleasure, security, relaxation and friendships will also evade them when sickness strikes.

This is why our campaign to fight for the NHS is so fundamental to our futures. Whoever you are – rich, poor, black, white, working or unemployed you need to have access to good healthcare.

In the UK more and more people are starting to buy private health insurance. Because we are all experiencing a massive deterioration in the quality of service we receive from the NHS.

But as anyone who has watched Michael Moore’s film Sicko will know health insurance is no guarantee. We already know how difficult it is to get an insurance firm to pay up, so why should it be any different with health insurance? Even if private health insurance is a guarantee there are many people who couldn’t afford it. Do you believe that shop workers, cleaners, carers and delivery drivers can afford to buy health insurance? But we need them to stay healthy for our future prosperity.

I feel weary of hearing people saying we can’t afford the NHS. The truth is we can’t afford not to have our NHS. Investing in the overall health of the nation will bring prosperity. I am also weary of people shrugging and saying ‘what can I do’. Each of us has very little power to make change but collectively we have a lot of power. We all just need to do something.

It is time for us all, regardless of our own political leanings to engage in a very positive approach to saving our NHS. We need to remind ourselves that the politicians need our support. None of us voted to see large corporations creaming massive profits out of our NHS. We didn’t vote to see our access to GP services drastically reduced, but that is what we have got.

The GMB union held a ballot of healthcare workers on industrial action shortly before Christmas. Unfortunately, they did not get a sufficient turn out to strike. Healthcare workers have been on pay restraint for so long. They are exhausted and demoralised and that may explain why so many didn’t turn out for the ballot but unless this changes they will continue to be exhausted and demoralised.

Whoever you are, join a union and support your fellow workers. Join a campaign, have a say and then may be with a collective ‘can do’ attitude 2022 will be a better year.