Campaigners and staff wish the NHS Happy birthday
On 5th July 2017 the NHS was 69. The TUC, health unions and Health Campaign Together activists joined forces outside hospitals around the country to raise awareness about the impact of the squeeze on funding and pay is having on the NHS.
The NHS is facing a funding crisis – and it’s not new. And it won’t get better, at least under the existing funding plans. As set out in the 2017 Conservative manifesto, £128bn will be spent on the NHS in 2020/21. With cost pressures estimated at £141bn, it’s just not enough. The government maintains that that the NHS will have to be more efficient in order to bridge the funding gap. But evidence suggests that savings of this order can’t be found, without significant impact on staffing and services.
Already, hospitals have been told to implement cost-cutting measures and to “think the unthinkable” in their quest for savings. This means that they will be asked to spend less on drugs, refer fewer patients to hospital and support fewer people with severe health needs for example.
But NHS staff and activists are campaigning together and on the NHS anniversary day, they asked patients and the general public outside hospitals to sign a birthday card for the NHS which had a message for the Government:
- Fully fund our NHS
- Give NHS workers a pay rise
Hundreds of people stopped at stalls outside hospitals around the country, from Southend to Leeds, and Newcastle to Southampton and the support they received was unanimously positive. The messages left were full of hope and showed that people were ready to fight back any additional pressure put on the NHS.
“The NHS is the public crown jewels”
“We can’t do without you”
“You saved my life and the life of my mother. We’ll never stop fighting for you!!!”
The birthday cards will be handed in to the local MPs later on in the year, putting more pressure on the government ahead of the autumn budget in November 2017 to fully fund the NHs and give NHS workers a pay rise.