Hundreds of thousands of NHS campaigners will converge in London on Saturday (February 3) to demand the Tories fix the embattled health service.
In response to the unprecedented and growing crisis afflicting the NHS, the People’s Assembly has called a mass protest against the government’s deliberate dismantling of the health service.
Unions, actors, musicians and politicians have thrown their support behind the protest as the indictments against the government’s shocking treatment of the NHS and the subsequent effects on patients and staff grow ever longer.
Two weeks ago it was revealed 20 people died over the Christmas period while waiting for ambulances from the critically “over stretched” East of England Ambulance Service Trust.
The revelation came after 68 senior doctors from England and Wales wrote to Theresa May to warn her that patients are “dying prematurely” because they are being treated in hospital corridors.
Nor have things improved since the beginning of the year, with NHS performance figures released yesterday showing hospitals are under more strain than at any point this winter.
Wards are so now full, that the number of times that ambulances had to be diverted to other hospitals doubled in a week at the end of January – hitting a record 43 “diverts”.
Funds siphoned off
Meanwhile, vital NHS funds continue to be siphoned off by private companies under legislation passed by the Tories, with research showing that 70 per cent of health service care contracts were farmed out to privateer firms in 2017.
Labour shadow education secretary Angela Rayner is one of those asking people to make their voices heard at Saturday’s demonstration.
She said, “I urge all of you to come down to London and show this Government our NHS is not for privatisation and we will protect it together.”
Rayner was joined in her call by actors Ralph Little, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Francesca Martinez and the pop band Rudimental.
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner will be addressing the rally.
NHS clearly in crisis
“Anyone who has contact with the NHS can see it is in crisis and that staff are shouldering unbearable pressures. People in need of serious medical attention are not receiving it in time because of ambulance delays, are stuck in those same ambulances because there’s no room in hospitals or languishing in corridors because there’s no beds,” Turner said.
“Lets be clear: Tory cuts and the privatisation of the NHS is killing people.”
He added, “People are sick to death of the government’s attempts to blame patients, nurses, doctors, flu, immigrants and the elderly for an emergency that is of its own making. More than seven years of Tory cuts and privatisation by the back door have led to this perpetual, and entirely avoidable, crisis in the health service.
“For 70 years the NHS and its dedicated staff have served this country. It must be brought back to health so that it can continue to do so long into the future – that’s why we are asking people to join us on Saturday and demand the Tories end this crisis now.”
Join the London demonstration on Saturday 3 February 2018 from 12 noon. Find out more and pledge your support here.