Jeremy Corbyn has told tens of thousands of demonstrators to “defend the NHS with all of your might” at a protest march through central London.
Organised to warn that further funding cuts in the health service represent “a real risk to the safety of patients”, the event on Saturday sought to demand a fully and publicly funded NHS and social care services.
The Labour leader said to the crowd in Parliament Square: “The NHS is in crisis, in crisis because of the underfunding in social care and the people not getting the care and support they need.
“There are those waiting on trolleys and those who are desperate to get into an A&E department waiting hours for treatment. It is not the fault of the staff. It is the fault of a government who have made a political choice.”
Corbyn called for the budget to be unveiled by the chancellor, Philip Hammond, on Wednesday to properly fund the health service with an emphasis on social care and mental health services.
Ahead of the demonstration, the Green party spokesman Larry Sanders wrote in the Guardian: “The government tells us there isn’t enough money, but this isn’t true. We are the fifth-richest country in the world – we have the money to stop our health service turning into a humanitarian crisis, and to care for people when they grow old: in hospitals, the community and homes.”
Campaigners, medical staff and members of the public who took part in the march held up homemade banners with slogans including “We want our NHS back” and “The NHS for the needy, not the greedy”.Grauniad.