Our meeting with the CCG yesterday went well.
We had about 200 people turn up, which for a meeting which was set up the week before and which not all our patients were invited to, was pretty amazing, particularly given that it was in a tricky to find place, and at an awkward time.
It showed us once again that people really do care about what happens to their GPs, their surgeries and their NHS. It was heartening that having worked so hard to advertise the meeting, the people who came worked hard for us in return.
That’s the thing about community activism. It really does activate the community, and it is absolutely awe inspiring to be a part of.
Yesterday we had the amazing Grace Petrie come and sing for us. She braved the cold and gave us a fantastic show on the steps outside the meeting hall while we were waiting to go in.
If you don’t know who Grace is, you need to check out her stuff on YouTube. She is a political protest singer, and as Tallulah said, also has awesome hair.
The meeting was better in many ways this time.
All of us got in, for a start, and nobody called the police.
We were not told off for large parts of it, although the constant theme of how we must sacrifice our own health for the deserving poor, grated rather. It is not that we don’t think someone shouldn’t help the deserving poor. In fact, we’d be the first to extend a hand. It’s just that we think that it makes no sense to level everyone down to a worse standard of health care instead of fighting to level everyone up.
After all, if all the things that make our health better are taken away from us, surely we will soon be the deserving poor too?
Who the hell is going to give us a bed pan to cough a lung up in when we need it?
Donald Trump probably, and then he’ll make us pay for the privilege.
Also, as one indignant lady said when she left the meeting: ‘The irony of being told I am over-privileged by the people on that platform! When you add up the money gathered there, frankly it’s obscene.’
We did get time to ask our questions, although with the greased pig style of political answering finding favour with our panel, none of them were answered satisfactorily as you will see should you be a Twitter user and want to check out the hashtag #SaveourSurgery which will give you a blow by blow account of people’s reactions live and unleashed.
In terms of what it did for us, as with the last meeting of this kind, well, it didn’t provide us with any answers, but it did provide us with angry people, more committed to helping save the surgery than ever. It also provided us with new people asking to join our Facebook page, which is terrific. We got a great write up in the Leicester Mercury, and we got on BBC East Midlands today, showing on the lunch time, six o’clock and ten o’clock news.
Oh, and it gave us extra material for our meeting with the CCG and our MP Jon Ashworth, which happened today. It was interesting.
Until now, the only other MP’s hand I’ve ever shaken was David Tredinnick’s when I had to go and collect my Sixth form prize for Literature (I chose Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman in case you were wondering. I’ve always been an anarchist), and that was like clutching a bit of damp cod. I’m glad to say Jon Ashworth had a much firmer handshake. I hope it’s a sign that might be a good omen.