UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners joined over 60,000 people at the NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW! demonstration in London.

UNISON Southend-on-Sea members and Save Our Southend NHS campaigners at the NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW! demonstration in London | Photograph by Paul Stygal

On Saturday 3rd February a large Southend contingent marched with over 60,000 people on the NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW! demonstration to challenge Jeremy Hunt’s ongoing deadly plans for the NHS.

UNISON members joined other unions, health workers, patients and activists calling for the NHS to be properly funded. Speakers reported on how united the country was in defence of the NHS and explained that it was privatisation and funding cuts creating the crisis in our NHS and not migrants or inefficient NHS workers.

Both demonstrators and speakers called for the complete re-nationalisation of our NHS, echoing the pledge from the Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health – Jon Ashworth. Among speeches by politicians and health campaigners, a nurse said that it had been calculated that around 120,000 deaths can be attributed to the cuts in NHS funding. Additionally, Nicola Romero spoke of how her daughter, Becky, died due to a lack of NHS resources. Mrs Romero’s emotional speech is available to watch here.

People everywhere vowed that the fight for the NHS will not stop until it is properly funded. As we marched in London, other protests were being held up and down the country including Middlesbrough, Warrington, Macclesfield, Stafford, Worcester and Kidderminster – a real message of support for our NHS and solidarity with all its workers.

We need to keep up the fight for our NHS

Nationally: Another demo has been called for the 30th June (on our NHS’s 70th birthday) – so put it in your diary now!

Locally: We need to keep fighting the Mid and South Essex STPs (Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships) which are trying to downgrade Southend Hospital and move services to Chelmsford or Basildon – all part of proposed cuts of £30 million in Southend alone. These plans have been described by NHS Consultants as dangerous, unsustainable and will put lives at risk. We need your support to save our local NHS services. For more information and to see how you can help Save Our Southend NHS from STPs, privatisation and cuts please visit the campaign Facebook page.

Watch/read more about the NHS IN CRISIS – FIX IT NOW! demonstration:

Video report by ITV News correspondent Ronke Phillips.
Article on the UNISON National website.
Article in Socialist Worker.
Article in The Guardian.
Photos by Paul Stygal.