An army of demonstrators from GMB, the trade union for NHS workers, will come together in Leeds with other trade unionists, campaigners and ordinary people in the fight to save the NHS on Saturday 1st April 2017.
Activists will join the demonstration, which has been organised by Health Campaigns Together to defend the NHS against cuts, closures and privatisation. It is hoped this will be the biggest march in Leeds this millennium, with campaigners coming from across the whole of the UK.
The message from GMB to the Government is simple ‘We will not stand by while they dismantle one of our county’s greatest achievements - the NHS - and we demand sufficient funding for quality health care and an end to cuts, closures and privatisation’.
As a show of solidarity with the NHS and all those who work in it, GMB activists will wear hospital scrubs and take part in a bed-push around the city. Tracy Brabin, MP for Batley & Spen and GMB member will also take part in the event and will speak at the rally in support of the NHS and protecting this vital service for future generations.
In a statement Health Campaigns Together said: “£20 billion in cuts to our NHS and annual funding increases slashed from 4% to 1% despite rising demand has led to unprecedented chaos in many of our A&Es.
“Massive bed cuts nationally mean that bed occupancy at 90% is consistently running above accepted safe levels. Patients are being discharged in haste to free up space for others stuck in A&E. The Red Cross have graphically described the situation in our hospitals as a “humanitarian crisis”.
“Meanwhile the NHS is obliged by the 2012 Health and Social Care Act to waste huge amounts of money putting services out to tender, and private firms are sucking up tax payers money. Virgin already have over £1 billion worth of contracts and management consultants are making millions advising the NHS where to cut next.
“Now the Government is insisting on a further £22 billion ‘savings’ (nearly £1 billion in West Yorkshire alone) delivered by the hastily conceived and secret Sustainability and Transformation Plans. They have the cheek to call for better public health after presiding over a 10% reduction in health visitors, a 40% reduction in district nurses and massive reductions in spending on sexual health and alcohol related illness.”
Stacey Booth, GMB Organiser for the NHS said: "We are coming together in Leeds as a show of strength and solidarity for one of the greatest institutions this country has ever seen. Our message to the Government from Yorkshire is quite simple we will not stand by while they dismantle one of our county’s greatest achievements, the NHS, and we demand sufficient funding for quality health care and an end to cuts, closures and privatisation.”
For further details contact Stacey Booth on 07813-541788 or Caroline Jones on 07850-325283
Notes to editors: Demonstrators are gathering from 10:30 am in Victoria Gardens, outside Leeds Art Gallery. After performances from a number of bands and choirs, the march will begin at approximately 12 noon, and circle through the city centre, before returning to Victoria Gardens for a short rally.