Press release: 12 Jan NHS Demo, London

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Keep Our NHS Public joined with the Junior Doctors’ Alliance, Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly Against Austerity in issuing the following press release, which went out on 11 January.

Junior Doctors Alliance, People’s Assembly[1] and Health Campaigns Together[2] have called an emergency protest at the Department of Health in Whitehall at 6pm on Thursday 12th January.

This is to highlight the serious abdication of responsibility by Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt during one of the most serious crises ever in the history of the National Health Service.

What will it take to get the Government to take responsibility for its role in creating the current crisis in the NHS? In the face of the public statement from no less a respected body than the British Red Cross that the NHS is facing a humanitarian crisis, Jeremy Hunt has retreated into spin and the use of several dishonest arguments.

In a week when two patients died on trolleys in Worcestershire Royal Hospital’s A&E department awaiting a hospital bed, Jeremy Hunt blames too many patients coming to A&E unnecessarily. Yet during this last week three times more people (485) were waiting more than 12 hours for a bed than during the whole of January last year.

The Red Cross is right – this is a humanitarian crisis and is a disgrace. But why is the NHS in this position? The NHS is not facing unprecedented demand – it is facing unprecedented and deliberate neglect from this Government.

The demand in A&E this winter is only what is to be expected from a population that is growing both in number and complex health needs. This is no surprise. This wholly predictable level of demand is only a crisis because A&Es have closed, there are not enough beds and insufficient staff. Bed occupancy is dangerous at 100% and staff are exhausted. Two A&Es have closed in NW London where A&E is in meltdown.

The Government has refused to fund the NHS and social care adequately. Combined with the savage reduction in funding for social care, neglect of mental health services and a disregard for crisis in GP services, hospitals face a perfect storm and are at breaking point.

Hunt blames irresponsible patients who do not know how to use A&E. We blame an irresponsible Health Secretary and deliberate Government underfunding of the NHS. Valuable finances are wasted on consultancy fees for developing sustainability and transformation plans in the 44 areas up and down the country, wasteful market processes and widespread privatisation, adding to the shrinking of viable public services.

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, retired paediatrician (Health Campaigns Together) said:

The Government has deliberately ignored warnings from all quarters including The Kings Fund, The Nuffield Trust and even NHS England itself that cuts to social care budgets are at dangerous levels seriously compromising the NHS.

NHS trusts are faced with insufficient funding, insufficient beds, insufficient nurses and doctors and insufficient resources for care in the community. (See the evidence from OECD)

The Government and NHS England insists that there are sufficient beds, and patients should be looked after in the community, but the cuts in social care and the poverty of resource in community-based health services make this plan unworkable and potentially dangerous.”

HCT and PA will also support the ‘Howl of Protest!’ called by Hands Off Our NHS at Old Palace Yard, Westminster, Midday Saturday 28 January.[1]

The People’s Assembly and Health Campaigns Together and have called a national demonstration in London on Saturday 4th March (from Tavistock Square).This will highlight and protest the deliberate and dangerous de-funding of the NHS, shrinking and tendering out of public services. We will also be demanding a halt to privatisation of the NHS and an immediate moratorium on cuts, closures and mergers to NHS services, which are being rushed through with stealth wrapped up in the 44 STP plans.This event has rapidly growing support including the biggest union Unite (see appendix)



Louise Irvine                                     [email protected]                        M: 07922 277395
Mike Forster                                      [email protected]                      M: 07887 668740
Alan Taman, Media Officer            [email protected]   M: 07870 757 309


[1] Peoples Assembly against Austerity

[2] Health Campaigns Together is an alliance of over 25 national organisations, trade unions, local campaigns formed in Autumn 2015 at the instigation of  Keep Our NHS Public.

Appendix: Organisations affiliated to Health Campaigns Together

BFAWU (Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union)
National Union of Teachers (NUT)
PCS – Public and Commercial Services Union
POA (Prison Officers)
Unison Mid-Yorks Health
Unison South East
Unite the Union (national)
Unite:   Doctors in Unite (previously MPU)
UNIONS: Trades councils
Leeds Trades Council
Huddersfield Trades Council
999 Call for the NHS
Big up the NHS
Bursaries or Bust
Doctors for the NHS
Hands Off Our NHS
Health Emergency
Keep Our NHS Public
National Pensioners Convention
NHS Reinstatement Bill Campaign
NHS Support Federation
openDemocracy – ourNHS
People’s Assembly against Austerity
Politics of Health Group
Socialist Health Association
Defend Our NHS Cheshire
Ealing Save Our NHS
Greater Manchester KONP
Hands off Huddersfield Royal Infirmary
Newcastle KONP
Oxfordshire KONP
Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign
Save Our Hospitals Hammersmith & Charing Cross
Stroud against the Cuts
NHS Solidarity
Junior Doctors’ Alliance
POLITICAL PARTIES, National and local branches
Green Party
Ellesmere Port Constituency Labour Party
Yorks Labour Party


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