Graduate Story:

Christine Hyde

Christine is an activist from West Yorkshire who campaigns to protect the NHS. She started campaigning at the age of 59, after an enlightening chat with her elderly mother.

I started campaigning to protect the NHS from privatisation when Tony Blair was rearranging hospitals into trusts. One day I was visiting my elderly mother and she was very agitated and with how her consultations were being handled at our local hospital. I asked her what was wrong and she said the government had been trying to privatise the NHS for years. I said ‘they
wouldn’t do that, surely!’ When I heard that 38 Degrees were campaigning on the Health and Social Care Bill, I immediately recognised that this was linked to everything my mum had been talking about, and signed up to help out.

I started signing petitions, managed to get a letter in the local paper, and presented a petition to my local Conservative Party MP. He wasn’t very supportive but that didn’t stop me campaigning! I started talking to more and more people about the creeping privatisation of the NHS, which I realised was happening across the UK. I went to consultations, engagements, and events about the local hospital downgrade. I had just retired so had a lot of time to fight for what I saw and see as an erosion of our rights! But something told me I needed a bit more support.

That led me to apply to Campaign Bootcamp. I graduated from Bootcamp in 2016, but it’s very much an experience which I still reflect on when I’m campaigning today. Meeting different people at Campaign Bootcamp was very valuable and the ‘scenario’ sessions were hugely important for my learning. I was able to explore my campaign further, investigating the roots of power, and brainstorming around hidden drivers of change. I met so many activists from across the UK and beyond, and was able to learn from their campaigns, whether they were focussed on health or not.

Since that training I have joined Keep Our NHS Private, set up a petition, organised public meetings, organised a poetry competition for the NHS’s 70th Birthday, joined and spoken at demonstrations and marches, held stalls on the market, and campaigned for the NHS Reinstatement Bill and against the privatisation of hospitals employees.

You can find out more about my activism at www.northkirkleesnhssupportgroup.org.uk.

Christine Hyde

I care about the NHS, one of the most civilised and civilising institutions of the age. I am currently busy defending it as best I can. I also enjoy being on my allotment, surrounded by nature, organically gardening.