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Thousands protest against NHS plans

6 Mar 2017

A huge crowd gathered in London at the weekend to voice concerns about cuts to the health service.

RCN members on NHS march

RCN members joined many thousands of people marching through central London on Saturday in protest at continuing cuts to the NHS.

Coaches carried health care staff from all over the country to join the demonstration. Organisers said at least 250,000 people took part, marching from Tavistock Square to Westminster, where speakers addressed the crowd.

RCN member Ranjan Hutchings, a retired school nurse and Marie Curie cancer nurse, said she joined the march to support her colleagues. “I believe very strongly in keeping the NHS the way it is and I want nurses to be recognised as being at the forefront of health care. I’m very passionate about the NHS.”

Another member, practice nurse Sita Beharrell (pictured), said: “Everybody’s working so hard out there so I wanted to be here to support health care professionals in the NHS.”

She added: “This is an amazing turnout, a brilliant atmosphere, and I think people are taking notice. This is a really big event.”

The Government’s sustainability and transformation plans, or STPs, designed to change the way health and care services are delivered in England, were denounced by protest organisers as a smokescreen for further cuts.

The RCN has said that while it supports the ambition of STPs – joining up services and delivering care closer to home – without proper resourcing and planning they risk being undermined from the outset.

Were you on the march? Email bulletin@rcn.org.uk with your thoughts.