A documentary on the creeping privatisation of the National Health Service is being screened at Newton Abbot’s Courtenay Centre tomorrow night, November 29.

Under The Knife is narrated by award-winning actor Alison Steadman and tells the story of how Britain’s publicly-funded NHS has been systematically dismantled and undermined. Emmy award-winning director Susan Steinberg and Pamela Kleinot uncover the covert, creeping privatisation of the NHS in the past three decades, culminating in the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, which has opened the floodgates to private companies.

Admission is free and the film will be followed by a Q&A session with NHS experts.

A spokesperson said: ‘The NHS is seriously ill. From its stormy birth, through seven decades of turmoil and political warfare, it has withstood almost everything that has confronted it – until now.

‘Under the Knife has been touring the country to packed out audiences and now it’s screening in Newton Abbot.’

Bafta-winning director Ken Loach has endorsed the film.

He said: ‘Films, like words, can be weapons. This film is a weapon in our struggle to save the NHS. There should be details of the film in every hospital reception, every GP’s waiting room, every community centre.’

Susan Steinberg, Under the Knife’s Director, said: ‘Like many people, I wanted to understand how we got into the mess we are into today and what we can do about it. Focusing on the NHS, the institution that has been called our national religion, Under the Knife tells that story. It’s vital to understand the problems and solutions to an institution that has reached breaking point.... an institution that is fundamental to our democracy.

‘The film ends on hope, illustrating how communities, health care professionals and campaigners have successfully fought to defend hospitals and services threatened with closure through the courts, in council chambers and on the streets.’

Aneira Thomas is the first NHS baby, and named after the founder of the service, Aneurin Bevan.

She said: ‘I am the first NHS baby, born at one minute past midnight on July 5 1948, into our national treasure and our proudest achievement, the National Health Service. From my very first breath, and no doubt to my very last, the NHS is central to who I am, the preservation of it for future generations is vital.

‘We were left a legacy by Aneurin Bevan, and together we will not let it slip away. The NHS represents morality, conscience, and equality. Under the Knife shows how it must be rescued from being privatised at all cost. The difference between a neglected and privatised service, and good sustainable health care really is life or death.’

Under the Knife starts at 7.30pm, and runs for 90 minutes.