Bitter-sweet clap for NHS: Moving tributes and Government hypocrisy

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The nation came together on Thursday night and showed its appreciation for the self-sacrifice and dedication shown by frontline workers in a moving act of solidarity during the coronavirus #clapforNHS event. All walks of life opened their front doors, stood on balconies and leaned out of windows and applauded and cheered in a moving display right across the country.

NHS staff, campaigners and social care workers however, while grateful for the acknowledgement, know applause isn't enough and that the Government's response so far has been dangerously lacking.

The irony that Conservative party leader, Prime Minister Boris Johnson stood outside 10 Downing Street and applauded underpaid, under-resourced and overworked NHS workers, when the Conservative Government has overseen a shameful attack on the NHS for the last ten years - leaving the NHS already facing a year round crisis - will be lost on very few.

Not only that, the testing of staff for coronavirus is erratic and woefully inadequate and the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other vital equipment remains dangerously insufficient. The hypocrisy of Conservative MPs in applauding NHS workers at this time, while their failed response is putting NHS staff needlessly at risk, is a bitter pill to swallow.

Check out this damning indictment as Lancet's Dr Richard Horton calls the Government's response so far 'a national scandal':


Many campaigners and NHS staff took to social media to call out the Government's hypocrisy. Frontline doctor Aislinn Macklin-Doherty, herself now affected by Covid-19, tweeted:

That's why Keep Our NHS Public, the Socialist Health Association and Health Campaigns Together are supporting the 6 demands of NHS staff during the Covid-19 outbreak that will enable them to fight the virus with all the resources and support they and their patients need.


We’re calling on the UK Government and devolved governments to urgently take the following measures to protect NHS workers and the general public:

    1. Covid-19 testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) must be available for all NHS and social care staff now
    2. Those relying on social care (or ‘Direct Payments’) must be given immediate support if carers go sick 
    3. NHS support staff (including those outsourced) must receive at least living wage, paid sick leave for illness or self-isolation and an increase in statutory sick pay 
    4. Bring private health resources into public service without compensation to fight Covid-19 and aid NHS response 
    5. Make all information that the Government is basing its strategy on wholly available for public scrutiny
    6. An immediate end to legislation enforcing eligibility checks and charging in the NHS, including those related to residency status or national origin, allowing all patients to use the NHS without fear

Please sign and share as widely as you can!

The Clap for Carers tribute proved just how Britons value the NHS and how it must be defended, both during this crisis and when it is over. The NHS must be fully funded and re-instated as a truly publicly owned and publicly run body capable of delivering the quality of care every member of our society deserves.

See below for our round up in video and pictures of the evening's show of solidarity for frontline workers across the UK:

Workers, celebs and politicians take to twitter to show their appreciation to NHS staff, including author Caitlin Moran, singer Liam Gallagher, Jonathan Ashworth MP. And a group of TFL workers - doing an equally vital and dangerous role providing services for essential workers - also joined in.

An inspiring panorama of London during the #clapforNHS 26.03.2020 by photographer Jess Hurd.

NHS staff supporting each other in these difficult times by singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'

Save Lewisham Hospital campaigners out on their street supporting our brave frontline workers

Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, whipping up support for NHS workers in his community

A view of London from an East London Tower Block - London supports NHS workers!

John Puntis Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, showing his support fellow NHS workers the best way he can

Homemade banners appear throughout the country showing their support and promoting the #clapforNHS in the run up

A family step outside to join the applause in support of workers on the frontline

Frontline workers show their appreciation for the support shown in their communities and workplaces

Tony O'Sullivan Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public standing with family and neighbours in solidarity with NHS and social care workers

Please read the Keep Our NHS Public Statement on Coronavirus here.

If you want to get involved with Keep Our NHS Public and all our campaigning work, you can join us here and sign up to our mailing list here.

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  1. The tory government have no right to clap nhs staff while neglecting their safety in a cavalier irrespobsible way.
    P.r. government led clapping to produce a cheap no cost good feeling among the people. And cheap and nasty cynical action forcing those in the nhs at the front to smile and be grateful for nothingness gestures.
    Claps should not be the sum total of the govts and peoples appreciation.
    Action is needed. Protect every worker in the nhs. Sack this government. Make them accountable.

    • You can sack the government when you vote for a workable alternative. Don’t worry, one will come soon,and you can have a go then. But not before.

  2. I had an interview with CNN World service on wednesday, and although not entirely in contaxt I reported the 10 years of austerity and put some of the blame of the horrendous difficulties on the Conservative politicians and their deliberate destruction of the NHS, especially for seniors and the Care services. Keep up the good work. Let me know if I can help. I will send this email to our members.
    Dont let the government off the hook. When this is all over the government will be looking for volunteers and financial ways to penalise the poor to recover

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