Health campaigners from Save Our NHS Leicestershire and the Campaign Against NHS Privatization are holding protests in Leicester City Centre and Market Harborough on Saturday February 26, as part of a Day of Action currently taking place at around 60 locations nationally.
Campaigners across the country believe that the crises currently facing the NHS, such as the extreme waiting times, is not the result of the pandemic alone, but rather a combination of the pandemic and of government policies.
Tom Barker, one of the organisers of the Leicester protest, said:
“A ‘decade of austerity’ has left NHS and social care funding falling behind the costs of patient need.
“Pay freezes and pay caps for staff, excessive workloads on limited resources and abolishing the training bursary for nurses have led a recruitment and retention crisis, with around 100,000 vacancies.
“And decisions to keep cutting hospital bed numbers and closing hospital departments has led to a growing reliance on the private sector and the creation a two-tier health service. We have particular concerns in Leicestershire as our local hospitals have some of the longest waiting times for routine surgery in England
“These are just some of the reasons that we are protesting.”
Campaigners are calling for immediate investment of £20bn into the national NHS budget in order to expand the health service and help slash waiting times; a restorative pay rise for all NHS and care workers; as well as a firm commitment from the government to fund in full Leicester’s hospital reorganisation scheme with enough beds and space to “future proof” it.
Asked how this can all be achieved, Tom said:
“A decade of funding squeezes and cuts did a lot of damage to the NHS and social care services. The UK is a rich country, but resources are very unequally shared out. We support tax increases on large businesses and the super-rich to increase funding for health and social care.
“But we believe this change will only come from public pressure alongside patients, NHS staff & trade union action. That’s why we are asking more members of the public to get involved.”
The protest will assemble at midday on February 26 on Gallowtree Gate, Leicester. For those in the county, a parallel event will be held on the same time and day on The Square, Market Haborough.
For more info or to or get involved locally contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07896 841 902