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A NORTHERN march for the NHS in Leeds tomorrow will launch celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service — but will also focus on the chronic underfunding which is wrecking Britain’s most treasured national institution.
Organised by Keep Our NHS Public, Health Campaigns Together and SOS NHS the march and rally is backed by Yorkshire and Humber TUC and over 24 union branches across northern England.
This week a damning report from the respected health research body the King’s Fund exposed how the service is being wrecked by staff shortages, low pay and lack of equipment.
Dr John Puntis, co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public and member of Doctors in Unite, said: “Current unprecedented and growing waiting lists are a disgrace and the direct consequence of 140,000 staff vacancies, chronic underfunding and lack of planning.”
He called on the government to “abandon the siphoning of public money into a small and parasitic private sector” and to “invest in retaining and recruiting staff, public health, replacement of crumbling buildings and obsolete equipment.”
“The 75th birthday should mean a celebration of and return to the founding principles of the NHS so that it can once again thrive as a public service, nurture its workforce and deliver good care to all,” he said.
Royal College of Nursing steward and nursing sister Rhian Wheater said: “The NHS is in permanent crisis.
“We were once the best healthcare system in the world and now we are rapidly falling into the categories of one of the poorest, with worsening patient outcomes.”
The rally assembles at 11am at Leeds Town Hall.
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