March to save the NHS

Pouring rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of RCN members as they pounded the streets of London in defence of the NHS.

They joined tens of thousands to march through the capital chanting “no ifs, no buts, no NHS cuts”.

Many travelled miles to attend, using precious time off to demand change. 

Here's why. 

Urgent action is needed to address the current crisis. If none is taken, our patients will suffer. We will continue to speak out to defend our NHS

RCN President Cecilia Akrisie Anim joined the march and delivered a passionate speech to the crowds gathered opposite Downing Street.

“Nursing staff are bearing the brunt of the enormous pressures facing the NHS,” she stressed. 

“Staff at every level are experiencing burnout and many of our colleagues are turning their back on jobs they love. 

Staff at every level are experiencing burnout

“It’s no surprise that nursing staff feel overstretched and undervalued. There are now more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England alone. 

“It’s now 70 years since the formation of the NHS and nurses have always been at the heart of it.

“Urgent action is needed to address the current crisis - if none is taken, it is our patients who will suffer.

“We will continue to speak out to defend our NHS.”

The RCN supported members to attend the march as part of its Close the Gap campaign, which demands an above-inflation pay increase for NHS nursing staff. 

“People aren't surviving, that's why they're leaving the profession,” said Samantha Spence, who believes the Government needs to work with nursing staff to reach a solution to the NHS crisis. 

Photos from the march

Find out more

Read powerful testimonials from frontline nursing staff about how the 40,000 staff shortfall affects their day-to-day care of patients in the RCN publication 'Left to Chance'. 

Words by Tom Metcalf

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