Leeds KONP and it’s supporters gathered outside the Leeds General Infirmary at 7am on Wednesday the 5th of July and later outside St James University Hospital to celebrate the NHS ‘s 69th birthday.
Kate Youngs, RCN Student Information Officer, Leeds University
The NHS gives a glimpse of what could be acheived by socialist ideas, as a service providing free healthcare for all at the point of contact. The amount of lives that this system has saved and improved over these 69 years is beyond measurement.
Outside both venues large birthday cards were signed later to be presented to the hospital and their hard working and courageous staff. Sweets were given out to both staff and patients, music was played and the mood was celebratory.
However the threat to this great system that the present Government poses could not be ignored.
Members from Unison, Unite, TUC and RCN were all present with banners flying. The RCN handed out campaign postcards which are to be sent to MPs and badges handed out in line with their ScraptheCap campaign calling on the pay restraint to be lifted on nurses which has led to a 14 percent real time wage reduction for front line staff since 2010.
Other issues were aired led by Leeds KONP around the ongoing issues of privatisation that sees vital services reduced and closed down across the country leading to ineffective patient care and low staff morale.
The celebratory mood was enjoyed by patients, staff and passers by. People also stopped to engage with the campaigners to find out more information about the issues around these campaigns, and support was felt through this as well as cars tooting whilst they passed. Campaigns of this nature need to continue to ensure voiced are heard in support of the many issues facing our healthcare system in today’s current political climate.