A delegation of nurses from London hospitals protest outside Downing St to coincide with the “clap for heroes”, demanding accountability from the government and a funding boost for the NHS to help them cope with the worsening pandemic and repair the damage this government’s lack of leadership has caused to morale and staffing.
Police tried to move them on but the nurses stood their ground. They were socially distanced and wearing masks, and obviously presented no threat to public health – unlike this government’s criminal lack of planning.
Press release from NHS Workers Say No:
“NHS workers from hospitals across London will hold a socially distanced protest outside Downing Street on Thursday 14th January, to coincide with the clap for heroes at 8pm. The NHS workers are demanding accountability from this government and a funding boost for the NHS to help them cope with the worsening pandemic and repair the damage this government’s lack of leadership has caused to morale and staffing.
The protest is being organised by NHS Workers Say No, a grassroots campaign of NHS staff.
With thousands of people now dying daily and a vacancy rate of 15% across London the frontline workers are demanding that action is taken to protect our staff and our loved ones by:
1. Increasing statutory sick pay and financial support for the public so patients can afford to self isolate and stay at home during the lockdown.
2. Granting the NHS an immediate increase in funding and giving NHS staff a 15% pay rise to boost morale and because of the overwhelming evidence that this will support staff to stay in work within our NHS.
3. For Boris Johnson to accept responsibility for his failure of leadership and resign.
Mark Boothroyd, an A&E nurse said “The fact that we are experiencing a worse second wave to the first is entirely down to poor decisions by the government. The cabinet prioritised saving the economy over saving lives, and ended up saving neither. Boris Johnson must accept responsibility and resign, and his replacement must commit to massively increase funding for the NHS, now and in the future.”
The UK death toll from covid-19 has now risen to over 80,000, and many NHS trusts have had to declare critical incidents as they are unable to cope with the number of admissions they are accepting. Huge numbers of staff are off sick or self-isolating, hampering the health services ability to provide safe care to the tens of thousands of patients. A study by Kings College London found almost half of NHS critical care staff have symptoms of mental illness related to working in the pandemic.
Olivia Watson, a paediatric intensive care nurse said “For years we have been crying out for investment in our profession & health services. The future of nursing and safe patient care depends on it. We are protesting so we can care for the public like they deserve, for the UK public who trust us with their lives. We never want to have to face a crisis like this again so we need funding and policy change now, and for NHS staff’s hard work to be recognised. We don’t want to have to work in an understaffed, underfunded health service ever again.”
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