Nurses among thousands at Our NHS rally

An estimated quarter of a million people joined a march through the streets of London in support of the NHS.
Our NHS march

Nurses were among an estimated quarter of a million people who joined a march through the streets of London in support of the NHS on Saturday.

Nursing students (from left) Grace Winfieldale, Harriet Ferguson, Georgie Hartshorne, Kayleigh Peel and
Sophie Lynn were among those at the rally.

The It’s Our NHS rally, organised by Health Campaigns Together and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, centred on concerns about privatisation, the government’s Sustainability and Transformation Plans and cuts to NHS and social care services.

Members of the RCN, Unison and other unions and the general the public marched through the streets before listening to speeches opposite the Houses of Parliament.

RCN members carried banners with the slogan ‘Scrap The Cap’, referring to the 1% public sector pay cap. Among those who addressed the crowds were nurse campaigners Danielle Tiplady and Jacqui Berry.

‘Defend the NHS’

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also spoke at the event, calling on the public to defend the NHS ‘with all your might’.

Unite union leader Len McCluskey said the Metropolitan Police had estimated the crowd at 250,000 people.

Nursing students Kayleigh Peel and Harriet Ferguson, from the University of Birmingham, marched in their uniforms. Ms Peel said: ‘I’m mostly here because of the 1% pay cap on nursing and health professionals’ pay. I also want the student bursary to be reinstated, because there is a massive shortage of nurses and a reduction in the number of people applying for nursing degrees, so things are going to get worse in the future.’

Ms Ferguson said she was there to support the call for more funding for social care, and for better recognition of the hours and hard work put in by nurses. She added: ‘We don’t want to see the NHS fail, because it’s for everyone, not just those who can afford to pay for health care.’

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