Protest called for NHS funding boost

Activists joined Wigan's MP to launch a fight to win more cash for the National Health Service.

Tuesday, 29th November 2016, 1:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:42 pm
Save the NHS demonstration in Wigan town centre

They braved the seasonal chill to approach early-Christmas shoppers about the current state of Government “under-funding” which now sees hospitals and clinics facing, they insist, the “worst deficit on record.”

Meanwhile understaffing, says Labour, is responsible for approaching four million people on patient waiting lists across England.

The event was part of a national campaign launched by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to persuade Prime Minister Theresa May to release more funding for the NHS.

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Hundreds of Wiganers stopped to hear about the campaign and agreed to sign the local section of the party’s cross country petition.

A spokesperson for Wigan Labour Party said that more than 1.8 million patients waited four or more hours in accident and emergency last year: up more than 400 per cent on the situation during the Labour Government of 2010.

One in four patients has to wait a week or more to see or speak to a GP or nurse. Or does not get an appointment at all.

Labour insists that the NHS is being covertly dismantled and prepared for privatisation. But staff in Wigan are fearful of speaking out publically in case they get the sack.

The spokesman said: “We had a huge response to our campaign. In just two hours over 300 people signed our petition calling on Theresa May to give the NHS the funding it needs.

“People in Wigan love their NHS but they are seriously concerned about it’s future. The Tories chose to ignore the NHS in last weeks’s Autumn Statement and it is clear that only a Labour Government will stand up for the NHS.”

The Prime Minister continues to strongly defend Government spending levels on the NHS and has denied Labour charges that the Tories are “starving” the resoursing of social care services.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn claims the Conservatives have hidden “£22bn” of cuts in the latest NHS savings plans.

But the PM hit back: “It is this Government that is providing not just the £8bn requested by the NHS but £10bn of extra funding requested by the NHS.” She says that the Tory Government had introduced specific structures that are supporting social care.