Tens of thousands march in London against NHS cuts

A healthworker holds a sign which reads "The blood on my hands washes off."

A supporter at the #OurNHS march in Tavistock Square. Image: Shima Begum

According to union organisers, around 250,000 health workers and supporters took part in the #OurNHS march over the weekend, in the hopes to put an end to austerity in the health service.

Supporters from across the UK gathered in Tavistock Square and marched their way towards Parliament.

The march was organised by two groups,  The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together. The organisers said the demonstration was intended to save the National Health Service from destruction.

Their campaign manifesto said, “The NHS is one of the UK’s greatest achievements and cannot allow the National Health Service to be undermined and ultimately destroyed.”

They believe the threat towards the NHS is real and said, “hospitals, GPs and community services are on their knees.”

VIDEO: Scenes at the march, show thousands of demonstrators filling the streets of London with many chanting in unison, “born in the NHS.”

There were a sea of colourful placards and large banners from healthcare students which read “Privatisation is murder” and “Migrants make our NHS.”

Healthcare students hold a banner which reads "Privatisation is murder."

Healthcare Students at the #OurNHS march in Tavistock Square. Image: Shima Begum

Student nurse Rosa Parsons, 30, from Camden who attended the march said, she would not have been able to train as a nurse if it wasn’t for the student bursaries offered by the NHS. Rosa told Londonmultimedianews what the National Health Service meant to her.

Chrissie Parker, 50, a sales rep who travelled from Huddersfield to the march, said she feared the NHS will be privatised and believes the health service is “grossly underfunded.”

Union organisers from The Peoples Assembly said “private companies are gaining an ever greater foothold within the NHS.”

Figures from a BBC report in 2015 showed that “under Labour the percentage of the NHS budget spent on private providers increased from 2.8% in 2006/07 to 4.9% in 2010/11 and for 2013/14, it stood at 6.1%.”

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who made an appearance in Parliament said, “The NHS is in crisis because of the underfunding in social care, the people are not getting the care and support they need. It is not the fault of the staff. It is the fault of a government who have made a political choice.”

Other key speakers who attended the march, included the official Officer of the National Union of Teachers Philippa Harvey and Len McCluskey General secretary of Unite the Union.

According to the Guardian report, the spokesman from the Department of Health said, they are “committed” to the NHS and are “investing £10bn in its own plan for the future, including £4bn extra this year to transform services and improve standards of care.”

Categories: Health, News

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