#FundOurNHS Emergency Demonstration Report

The scale of the weekend’s emergency protest shows a movement ready to defend #OurNHS at all costs

Read our report of an incredible day of protest for the NHS...

 

60 thousand marched through central London on Saturday for more beds, more staff and a fully funded NHS, free at the point of service.

Many thousands more also protested and took action in towns and cities around the country in spite of rain. The #FundOurNHS march in London featured blocs from Huddersfield to Bristol to Southend and rallied on Whitehall with speakers including Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth – who promised to end cuts and privatisation, reverse the Health and Social Care Act (2012), scrap the pay cap on NHS staff and restore training bursaries – and actor-turned-NHS-advocate Ralf Little, who said the decline of the NHS “is not inevitable; it’s a political choice."

(Photo by Luke Dray) 

Bristol mother, Nicky Romero who most moved the crowd to tears. She is the mother of teenage girl Becky Romero who took her own life after under-resourced NHS mental health services were unable to offer the support she required in spite of staff’s best efforts.

Nicky seemed to concentrate the anger of the whole protest when she asked:

"What kind of future will our children have, if they can’t get the care and support they need and deserve?
If the NHS was funded adequately, my daughter would still be alive. How much more blood can the hands of the Government hold?"

Nurse and campaigner Jacqui Berry told those gathered in Whitehall, “the crisis in the NHS is the new normal, and it is a crisis that is politically manufactured. We're working in a system that has set us up to fail”

NHS campaigner, cancer patient and nurse David Bailey addresses Saturday's rally to great applause: ‘The NHS is dead; long live the NHS!’ 

Saturday’s mass mobilisation must have given significant confidence to health workers and their unions (many were present) – showing the huge scale of support they could receive - should they consider strike action over the next year, as many in the movement hope they will, when they receive annual pay offers. 

Dr Tony O’Sullivan, retired paediatrician and Co-Chair of Health Campaigns Together, an organisation who helped coordinate the march, put it aptly in his speech at Saturday’s rally:

"Last March [2017] we had the biggest demonstration ever for the NHS and we changed the mood of the country; our general election ‘NHS roadshow’ helped change the vote of the country; and now if they refuse to change their hostility to the NHS, we will help change the government of this country."

The demonstration also received a huge amount of press coverage despite many of our supporters expressing disappointment at the relatively meagre coverage from the 'impartial' BBC. 

The Daily Mirror supported the demonstration in the run up to the day itself which is unprecedented since the anti-Iraq war protests of 2003. It's write up in the Sunday Mirror the day after brilliantly attacked Jeremy Hunt for his disdain for #OurNHS.

See below for a list of just some of the articles about the NHS demonstration

Press in the run up to the demonstration:

The Guardian, The Mirror, Morning Star, The Mirror, The Mirror, The Mirror, The Independent, The Mirror

After the demonstration:

The Times, ITV, BBC, The Guardian, The Guardian, The Mirror, Sky News, Evening Standard, AOL News, The Canary.

In an unexpected development on Monday lunchtime, President of the United States, Donald Trump tweeted about our demonstration, as ever COMPLETELY MISSING THE POINT. He wrote,

"The Democrats are pushing for Universal HealthCare while thousands of people are marching in the UK because their U system is going broke and not working. Dems want to greatly raise taxes for really bad and non-personal medical care. No thanks!" 

The People's Assembly and Health Campaigns Together immediately responded letting him know that we didn't agree "with your divisive and incorrect rhetoric. No thanks!". Click here to read our full statement.

This of course triggered another wave of media attention for our London demonstration, some of it from international and US news platforms:

CNN, The Guardian, The Guardian, The Guardian, The Metro, The Mirror, Washington Post, and maybe our favourite, Jonathan Pie.

It's now time to look ahead to the massive 70th Anniversary of the NHS this summer when we will be calling for a fully funded free at the point of use, publicly owned and publicly run NHS for another 70 and more years to come!

Click here to find out more.

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