NHS ‘crisis’ strikes: ‘Huge’ London Saturday March 11 demonstration - ‘End the crisis - Support the strikes!’

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Thousands are expected to join a march to Downing Street in support of striking NHS workers.

A central London protest is taking place on Saturday (March 11), organised by the SOS NHS coalition.

Thousands are expected to join End the Crisis – Support the Strikes, in solidarity with NHS workers who have taken industrial action since the start of the year.

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Last month strike action was suspended amid further talks between the Royal College of Nursing and the government. On Sunday the Unite union suspended action which was due to see strikes by ambulance workers this week.

Speakers announced for Saturday’s demo include BMA Council chair Professor Philip Banfield as well as NHS frontline workers, union leads and cross-party MPs.

Where is End the Crisis – Support the Strikes?

The event will begin opposite Warren Street tube station on Tottenham Court Road, and end near Downing Street, Whitehall.

NHS workers and supporters picket outside the Royal Marsden hospital on February 6. (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)NHS workers and supporters picket outside the Royal Marsden hospital on February 6. (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images)
NHS workers and supporters picket outside the Royal Marsden hospital on February 6. (Picture: Leon Neal/Getty Images) | Getty Images

When is End the Crisis – Support the Strikes?

The demonstration will begin on Saturday 11th March 2023 at midday, starting with a pre-march rally and speeches opposite Warren Street station.

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At 12.30pm the march will gather at University Street and set off for Downing Street, Whitehall, arriving at around 2pm.

Speeches start at 2.30pm and the event is expected to finish at about 4pm.

The demonstrators

Dr Tony O'Sullivan, founder of the SOS NHS coalition and retired consultant paediatrician, said: “There is a tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

“500 avoidable deaths every week on the NHS emergency pathway. The government is 100% to blame.

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“I have never seen such a crisis of low morale amongst health staff – pay NHS staff properly now and repair this current crisis.”

Dr Andrew Meyerson, a junior doctor working in A&E, said: “A good shift nowadays for those working in A&E is one where someone doesn’t die in our waiting rooms or show up dead on arrival in the back of a delayed ambulance.

“That this is happening in the sixth wealthiest country on the planet is an unacceptable failure of government.”

Holly Turner, specialist CAMHS nurse and founder of grassroots organisation NHS Workers Say No!, said: “40,000 nurses left the NHS in the past year alone.

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“We need to retain skilled and experienced staff or who will train the nurses of the future?”

The government

A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: "We're pleased that unions representing the majority of ambulance workers, nurses, physiotherapists, porters, cleaners and other non-medical staff have agreed to pause strikes and enter a process of intensive talks.

"We want to find a fair and reasonable settlement that recognises the vital role of NHS workers, the wider economic pressures facing the UK and the prime minister's priority to halve inflation."

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