Uprising against NHS changes
03 November, 2014
As the march began at Liverpool Road and spanned throughout the city centre, it was described by police as the largest the city had ever seen, and displayed the dismay many have felt about the manner in which the party have handled the National Health Service.
In an interview with BBC News, Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Austerity is having a devastating effect on our communities and services, with 21,000 NHS jobs lost over the last three months alone.
“The NHS is one of Britain’s finest achievements and we will not allow ministers to destroy, through cuts and privatisation, what has taken generations to build.”
Many more had much to comment upon in regards to the conference and proposed cuts, including Labour shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham:
“David Cameron needs to be forcefully reminded that he has never been given permission to put the NHS up for sale. These figures reveal the frightening scale and pace of NHS privatisation since Cameron’s Health Act came in.”
In reaction to the protest, a spokesperson from the Department of Health released a statement, saying: “The NHS will stay free for everyone, but it’s right that patients should get the best service – regardless of who provides it.
“Charities, social enterprises and independent providers play an important part for many years – helping give patients more choice of when and how they are treated.”
Despite the scale of the protest, only two arrests were made from the 50,000-strong crowd, which some have seen to reflect the feelings of the police, alongside the protestors, against the cuts across the emergency services. Rather than being filled with extremists, the march showcased a huge range of people from different backgrounds and political leanings coming together to march for the health service.
Who were the 50,000 protestors?
So what do the general public really think of our health service? Are the 50,000 representative of us all?
A survey we recently conducted across the entirety of the UK produced some interesting results about the public’s perception of the NHS, from the ages of 18 to over 55.
Only 10% of those surveyed believed the Conservative Party are correct to cut funding to the NHS, with 73% of people strongly opposed to the changes. However, 65% of people also believe that the NHS is inclined to waste its funding, showing that many do believe changes need to be made.
When it comes to the NHS, many British people are proud of the service, though should the option to find treatment elsewhere arise, many would not mind leaving the service behind. In fact, 54% would take private healthcare should they be able to afford it, though as 17% of people feel that they have to cancel appointments in fear of the price of treatment, that looks like a dream many are unable to fulfil.
You can go to our medical negligence page to see the key findings from the survey and find out more about public perception of the government’s cuts to NHS funding.