Over 60 NHS protests over pay justice, privatisation and patient safety to take place across Britain this Saturday, 3rd July 2021

On Saturday July 3rd, to coincide with the 73rd anniversary of the NHS, campaigners will hold a ‘Day of Action’.[1] Campaigners from and supporters of, Keep Our NHS Public, [2] Health Campaigns Together [3]  NHS Workers Say No [4] and NHS Staff Voices [5] will join with frontline NHS staff at over 60 separate socially distanced [6] protests across England, Scotland and Wales, to highlight the threats to patient safety caused by understaffing and underfunding, as well as demanding pay justice and an end to privatisation.

The NHS Pay Review Body will be making its findings public imminently following the government’s proposal of a below-inflation 1% pay increase for NHS workers. Campaign groups hope to draw attention to the potential risks that increasing privatisation and the poor treatment of frontline workers pose to patient safety.

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, says:

“The NHS was set up 73 years ago to make healthcare available for all. This principle is undermined by government policy that has underfunded the NHS and gives priority to investment with private health companies. The weakened NHS has been stretched to breaking point by COVID and the population has suffered. Staff are underpaid, overworked and their health put in danger. The new Health Bill threatens further large scale private contracting. At Saturday’s anniversary, we thank the NHS and its staff: we demand funding for a safe NHS; fair pay and respect for staff; and an end to the privatisation of services.”

Mike Forster, Chair of Health Campaigns Together, says:

“The Anniversary comes at a crucial time for our NHS with the dangers of a third wave hanging over us. The day of action will help to focus attention on staff vacancies, unprecedented waiting lists and avoidable deaths in hospitals, care homes and the wider community. Thanks to our NHS, the vaccine rollout is helping to keep us safer but we will be demanding better pay, increased NHS spending and an immediate end to creeping privatisation of our NHS. We urge everyone to join local protests on 3rd July and show your support for the NHS.”

Alia Butt, NHS Psychotherapist and Chair of NHS Staff Voices (part of Keep Our NHS Public) says:

“This Saturday the NHS turns 73. Despite this past year proving the importance of a stable NHS, it has been under continued attack from the government, with the white paper showing intensions for its further dismantling. It appears that it will be easier for private companies to not only buy contracts, but also control how money is spent from within the NHS by sitting on private boards – where decisions have up until now been made by NHS bodies and workers. This will mean vital financial resources will be wasted on contracts delivered by private companies that are entirely incapable of providing a good standard of services or care.”

Patients inevitably suffer from the devaluing of workers. Instead of considering patient safety, the government has squandered taxpayers money unchallenged and continues to waste life-saving resources on nepotistic contracts. We must insist the NHS is prioritised and properly funded. We must demand an end to privatisation and that staff recruitment and retention be prioritised. We must demand the NHS is not just paid for by the taxpayer but also fully publicly owned.”

Holly Turner, NHS nurse and founding member of NHS Workers Say No, says:

“As a Nurse, I have been dealt over a decade of real terms cuts to my pay despite my workload only continuing to increase. Staff have been victims of avoidable deaths and illness whilst crony contracts and profit has been placed above workers safety. We are struggling to keep our patients safe due to chronic understaffing and unmanageable waiting lists. This cannot go on, we are in crisis, this is why we are urging everyone who can, to join us this weekend to support our demands.”

*Key photographs of various events will be distributed as soon as they are available on Saturday 3rd July*

Spokespeople are available for interview (subject to availability) and more information is available upon request. Contact Samantha Wathen, Press Officer for Keep Our NHS Public [email protected]  or Call/WhatsApp: 0777 6047472

Notes to editors

  1. For more information on the Day of Action including links to local events, see: https://keepournhspublic.com/campaigns/nhs-anniversary-2021/
  2. Keep Our NHS Public is a national independent organisation campaigning for a well-funded, publicly owned and provided NHS www.keepournhspublic.com
  3. HCT is an umbrella organisation of health campaigning groups and unions in defence of the NHS https://healthcampaignstogether.com/
  4. NHS Workers Say No is a grassroots self-organised collective of frontline workers campaigning for pay justice for all NHS staff https://www.facebook.com/NHSworkersSayNo
  5. NHS Staff Voices is a part of Keep Our NHS Public: https://keepournhspublic.com/local-groups/nhs-staff-voices/
  6. Organisers have been asked to make sure that the necessary arrangements for safeguarding health are in place, and a risk assessment checklist is accessible for this purpose here:  https://keepournhspublic.com/campaigns/nhs-anniversary-2021/