Sheffield campaigners join national protest over 'crisis' in the NHS

Demonstrators outside the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, in Sheffield. Picture: @heather_c_c
Demonstrators outside the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, in Sheffield. Picture: @heather_c_c
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Thousands of people have called on the Government to deal with the 'crisis' in the NHS at protests today.

Tens of thousands of peopled marched in central London calling for more beds, staff and funds to ease the problems facing the service.

Activists also gathered outside The Royal Hallamshire Hospital, in Sheffield and Rotherham Hospital, in Rotherham as part of the national day of action.

Socialist Party member Alistair Tice, who organised the Sheffield demonstration, said the protest in the city was against the planned closures of the city centre NHS Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit at the Hallamshire Hospital.

"It was quite a lively protest and we had lots of passing vehicles and cars honking their horns in support," he said.

"A coach of people went down to London for the big protest but part of that demonstration we thought their should be protests in cities and towns around the country.

Demonstrators outside Rotherham Hospital. Picture: @RothLabourWomen

Demonstrators outside Rotherham Hospital. Picture: @RothLabourWomen

"In Sheffield we were highlighting the threatened closures of the Walk-in Centre and Minor Injuries Unit."

The plans include moving the services to the Northern General which has proved hugely unpopular from people from the south of Sheffield.

Further proposals in the consultation include urgent eye appointments being offered at opticians across the city 'closer to people's homes'. Emergency care will continue at the Hallamshire.

Groups of GPs will also work together to improve access to same-day appointments.

Bosses from Sheffield NHS Clinical Commissioning Group have previously stated the plans will simplify services and money saved from the closures will be invested to improve access to same-day GP appointments.

Labour MP Sarah Champion was among those demonstrating in Rotherham.

The London event, called 'NHS in crisis: Fix it now', was organised by the People's Assembly and Health Campaigns Together.

The demonstration began at Gower Street in Central London at midday, and the crowds began their march to Downing Street at 1pm.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: "We know the NHS is extremely busy, which is why the government supported it this winter with an additional £437m of funding, and why it was given top priority in the recent budget with an extra £2.8bn allocated over the next two years.

"Despite the extra pressure that comes with winter, the most recently published monthly figures shows hardworking staff treated 55,328 people within four hours every single day, 1,272 more each day than in the same month the previous year.”