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Hundreds of nurses march in rally to protect the NHS

RCN president Cecilia Akrisie Anim calls for urgent action to address the staffing crisis.

RCN president Cecilia Akrisie Anim calls for urgent action to address the staffing crisis.

Demo
Picture: David Gee

 

Nurses will march today with their trade union bodies and the public on the ‘NHS in crisis: Fix it Now’ rally.

Activists will gather at Gower Street, near University College London Hospital, at noon before walking to the gates of Downing Street.

Health unions including the RCN, Unite and Unison will take part in the London People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together event.

The campaigners are calling for:

  • An end to the spending freeze and cap on NHS pay, with a cash injection to restore the NHS budget and a commitment to increased funding each year.
  • Abandonment of any plans for further cuts or closures of NHS hospitals and services until adequate and proven alternative services have been put in place.
  • A halt to the imposition of ‘new models of care’ and ‘accountable care’ pending full public and parliamentary scrutiny.
  • Repeal of the 2012 Health and Social Care Act and regulations, and reinstatement of the NHS as a public service, publicly accountable, publicly owned and publicly funded through general taxation.

Nurse vacancies

RCN president Cecilia Akrisie Anim, who will address the crowds later today, said: ‘Nursing staff are bearing the brunt of the enormous pressures facing the NHS.

‘It’s no surprise that nursing staff feel overstretched and undervalued. There are now more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone.

‘2018 marks 70 years since the formation of the NHS and nurses have always been at the heart of it.

‘Urgent action is needed to address the current crisis – if none is taken, it is our patients who will suffer. We will continue to speak out to defend our NHS.’

The band Rudimental will also be at the rally, along with comedic actor Ralph Little, who recently challenged health and social care secretary Jeremy Hunt to a public debate on the state of the NHS.

A host of smaller rallies are set to take place across the UK, ranging from Glasgow to Canterbury, Enniskillen to Exeter.

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