Nursing staff marched through London on Saturday, as part of a protest calling for more funding to put a stop to the NHS “crisis”.
Organisers highlighted pressures on the NHS were now happening year-round and were in some cases leading to patients being left in overcrowded waiting rooms and hospital corridors.
“Urgent action is needed to address the current crisis”
They are calling on the government to provide more funding for the health service and to “stop blaming patients, nurses, doctors, immigrants, flu and the elderly for [its] shortcomings”.
Hundreds of nurses and assistants from across England joined the march, which was organised by campaigning group The People’s Assembly.
The Royal College of Nursing said its members would support campaigners, other unions and patient groups at the ‘NHS in crisis: Fix it now’ event.
The march took place from 12pm until 2pm, beginning at King’s Cross and ending at Downing Street, ahead of an hour-long rally.
RCN president Cecilia Anim attended the rally, saying that staff at “every level” are experiencing burnout and some are leaving their jobs as a result.
“The NHS is going through its worst winter on record with overcrowded hospitals, operations cancelled and patients on trolleys in corridors”
“It’s no surprise that nursing staff feel overstretched and undervalued. There are now more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone,” she said.
“2018 is 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,” she added.
Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s shadow health secretary, who also attended the march, said: “We should be celebrating the 70th year of our NHS but under the Tories the NHS is going through its worst winter on record with overcrowded hospitals, operations cancelled and patients languishing for hours on trolleys in corridors.
“Labour would bring forward the investment our NHS needs to provide the very best for patients. We’ll support our NHS staff and end the toxic privatisation agenda” he said.