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HEALTH campaigners dropped a banner off Westminster Bridge on Saturday as part of a nationwide protest against Britain’s lethal shortage of hospital beds.
There have been 5,449 “avoidable” deaths of people in need of urgent attention as a direct result of waiting too long on trolleys for medical attention, according to research by two emergency doctors.
The shameful figure was displayed on a banner draped on the side of Westminster Bridge in London as part of Winter Crisis National Day of Action in defence of the NHS.
“NHS staff say don’t blame our patients!” the banner read. “Winter crisis is the government’s crisis; 5,449 died waiting on hospital trolleys.”
Protests were mounted in towns and cities across the country by the Keep Our NHS Public campaign (KONP).
One target was Leeds General Infirmary in West Yorkshire, where a child was photographed lying on the floor of the hospital last year because there was not even a trolley for him to lie on, let alone a bed.
Tory underfunding and privatisation of the NHS has left the service short of 106,000 staff, including 44,000 nurses, official data revealed in December.
KONP said the NHS was facing its “worst winter crisis on record.”
The group said Saturday’s banner message “struck a chord with hard-working and increasingly burnt-out NHS staff who are demanding proper funding, increased staffing and an end once and for all to this seemingly perpetual crisis.”
KONP co-chair and retired consultant paediatrician Dr Tony O’Sullivan said: “Now more than ever it is crucially important that NHS staff make their voices heard.
“There exists so little opportunity for us to voice our feelings around the subject, and this was an act of solidarity with all who work in the NHS at every level, to literally tell the public we have had enough of the way this government treats both NHS staff and its patients.
“Both patients and staff are tragically dying unnecessarily thanks to the environment the Conservatives have created. The blame for this manufactured crisis lies squarely at the government’s door and they must act immediately to save lives.”
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