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Day of Action February 3

Read the statement from Health Campaigns Together and People's Assembly

London march

More than 60,000 people marched through London on 3 February.

Reports and pictures HERE

Local events

There were 54 other events across England, and solidarity events in Wales, in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

Reports and pictures HERE

Statement from Health Campaigns Together and People's Assembly

On January 4 Prime Minister Theresa May joined Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in issuing a hollow apology for the state of the NHS.

This comes after almost eight brutal years of frozen funding by their government has reduced spending on health and the numbers of hospital beds to the lowest of any equivalent country – bringing front line health services in many areas to “third world” conditions.

There’s no point in apologising when the problem comes from deliberate government policy, which has not changed since George Osborne imposed the funding freeze in 2010 – despite repeated warnings from NHS Providers, the NHS Confederation, the health unions and almost every NHS professional body.

Eight years of frozen real terms funding – while cost pressures have increased by 4% each year and the population has grown by 4 million – mean our NHS has been starved of funding with inadequate investment in staff and resources.

8,000 front line beds and 20% of mental health beds have closed, leaving no spare capacity for peaks of demand – while 8 years of below inflation pay settlements have left 100,000 vacant posts for nurses, health professionals and doctors in all parts of the NHS, increasing the pressure on the dedicated staff who remain.

This is why on December 31 more than half the acute hospitals had at least 95% of their beds full, and 8 out of 10 hospitals emergency services were over 90% full, with emergency admissions crowding out elective surgery until at least the end of January.

It’s why ambulances queue for hours seeking to hand over seriously ill patients, why corridors and other spaces are now routinely used as desperate, dangerous last resort areas for patients to wait for beds, and it’s why despite all the government’s warm words mental health patients are being taken hundreds of miles to find a bed.

We don’t want apologies, we want changes:
  • An end to the spending freeze and the cap on NHS pay: a cash injection to restore the NHS budget, and 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 are 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 & Social Care Act and regulations, and reinstatement of the NHS as a public service, publicly accountable, publicly owned and publicly funded through general taxation.

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