PROTESTERS across south Warwickshire joined in a national day of action against the NHS crisis.
South Warwickshire Keep Our NHS Public (SWKONP) set up stall in Leamington, Alcester and Studley on Saturday (January 28).
The local action came as NHS staff and campaigners staged protests at around 20 sites across England in response to the immediate NHS crisis, which national organisation Keep Our NHS Public say has resulted in unacceptable and dangerous delays in accessing emergency care.
Campaigners aimed to draw public attention to the reasons for this crisis and show solidarity with NHS workers fighting for better pay and conditions.
Dr John Puntis, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said: “For the NHS, the ‘winter crisis’ is now all year long. As government choose to look the other way, waiting lists, delays in treatment, staff vacancies and ambulance hold ups increase. Each week there are 500 excess deaths related to difficulty in accessing emergency care.
“The first priority must be to retain and recruit staff, without whom no services are deliverable. Patient safety demands acknowledging the crisis we are in, an end to strikes through serious engagement by politicians with unions, and promoting a fair pay settlement not only for health workers, but also for grossly underpaid care staff.
“We stand by those on strike who are demanding not only pay justice but a long term commitment by government to invest in the NHS as a publicly funded and delivered system once again capable of providing first class care to patients, irrespective of the ability to pay.
“The future of our NHS is now at stake and the coordinated national demonstrations on January 28 are to give voice to our collective anger, and to tell staff: ‘we understand why you are on strike, and we stand by you 100 per cent’.”
Anna Pollert, Secretary of South Warwickshire Keep our NHS Public, added: “We are right behind NHS staff, who are taking action not just for themselves, but for a safe NHS for all of us. We need to stop staff leaving the system because of low pay and stress – they’ve had a 20 per cent fall in real pay in the last ten years and there are 132,000 staff vacancies.
“Britain is the sixth wealthiest country in the world, and yet people are needlessly dying, there are 7.1 million people on hospital waiting lists and there aren’t enough beds – 22,000 have been cut in the last ten years. The government has deliberately underfunded the NHS and it must now give NHS staff a proper pay rise and re-invest in the NHS to again provide excellent treatment for us all.”