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Thousands march in London to protest government inaction on NHS crisis, budget cuts

Thousands of people in British capital of have braved cold weather and rain to march on Downing Street demanding an end to the persisting crisis affecting the ’s National Health Service (NHS) and challenging Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to adequately fund the NHS.
Londoners waged the massive protest march on city streets on Saturday to declare support for the NHS, which has come under intense pressure by the country’s lawmakers to cut costs and even privatize amid continuing shortages of healthcare providers and equipment and numerous problems in timely treatment of patients.
The protesters, including healthcare workers, patients, union members and activists, joined forces to demand an end to the “crisis” in the NHS and press for more funding from the Tory Health Secretary to finance more hospital beds as well as medical staff.
Protesters carry placards featuring ’s Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt during a march calling for an end to the “crisis” in the state-run National Health Service (NHS), in central London on February 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
Participants in the march also chanted slogans such as “No ifs, no buts, no NHS cuts!” as they made their way to a rally across from the Downing Street residence of the British prime minister.
The development came as hospitals across the UK have become overwhelmed in recent weeks by a hike in admissions, leading to delays of up to 12 hours on emergency wards, patients left on trolleys for hours and thousands of patients forced to wait in ambulances before receiving urgent care.
The so-called ‘Fix It Now’ march in central London was organized by Health Campaigns Together and the People’s Assembly and began at midday to also protest government inaction in response to the NHS winter crisis with numerous speakers that included actor Ralf Little and Nicky Romero, whose daughter had died due to lack of NHS resources.
Protesters burn flares and carry placards during a march calling for an end to the “crisis” in the state-run National Health Service (NHS), in central London on February 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
“We are now consistently hearing reports of patients dying at home before paramedics arrive, police cars being used to take patients to hospital as there are insufficient ambulances, or that when patients arrive in hospitals they are dying on trolleys in hospital corridors,” said Little, who studied medicine before his acting career took off.
“Many of us are extremely worried about what this means should our loved ones become ill,” he added during his address before the crowds of protesters.
Protesters carry placards during a march calling for an end to the “crisis” in the state-run National Health Service (NHS), in central London on February 3, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
President of the Royal College of Nursing Cecilia Anim also addressed the protesters, insisting that patients would suffer if urgent action was not taken.
“Staff at every level are experiencing burnout and many of our colleagues are turning their back on jobs they love,” she said. “It’s no surprise that nursing staff feel overstretched and undervalued. There are now more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone.”