The Beast from the East did not stop protesters outside King’s Mill Hospital.
Protesters fighting against cuts to the NHS made a stand outside the hospital on Mansfield Road, Sutton. Banners were raised and passing cars honked their horns in support. Nikki Raine, 54, from Mansfield, who organised the protest worked in the NHS: “Privatisation is round the back door. It is very important we make a stand, if we don’t do anything then what ever happens we can’t say it is someone else’s fault, it our fault if we do not do anything about it.” Nikki also said that the latest news that a unit, Chatsworth Ward, at Mansfield Community Hospital which was set to close but will now remain open has “proved that people power can actually do something and make a big difference.” Over 30 protesters braved the snowy weather on Saturday, March 5.
Jon Dale, 63, from the Unite Nottinghamshire Health Branch, who worked as a doctor, said: “Protesters showing up in this bitterly cold weather shows that the NHS is only just coping. “It takes very little to tip it into crisis, staff are on their knees. “If nothing improves we are going to see more tragic examples were patients don’t get the care they should do, staff having breakdowns and hovering in the back ground is big businesses which like a vulture is trying to swoop in and pick up the profitable contracts.”
The NHS is funded mainly from general taxation and National Insurance contributions.
An additional £437m of funding was given to the NHS to cope with this winters demands. Gloria De Piero, Ashfield MP who gave a speech at the rally, said: “We are protesting about the state of our NHS which is on the critical list at the moment but we are also here to show our pride and gratitude to our amazing NHS staff who are working in such difficult circumstances. “In 2010 one per cent of A&E patients were waiting more than four hours to be treated now that figure is 14 per cent. If you look back to Christmas week here [King’s MIll Hospital} 233 people were waiting between 30 and 60 minuets to get out of the ambulance and into the hospital. “We can’t continue like this the government have got an opportunity to put more cash into our national health service. “Lets get the NHS back to what it does brilliantly treating patients but treating them when they need it and not making them wait.” Sonya Ward, leader of the Labour Group at Mansfield District Council who has worked at Queens Medical Centre previously, held banners at the protest.
She said NHS staff are ‘doing a great job in terrible weather conditions this week’.
She said: “It is vitally important we support out NHS I think it is one of the biggest achievements we have as a country, we all rely on it. “I think if people who are involved in local politics don’t support the NHS who will.
“I am really concerned, we have a higher proportion of people with industrial related work conditions in the district, it is really important we look after people in Mansfeld. “We recognise the NHS is a function of central government, we can lobby, we can ask for change, but really we need the conservative government to put their money where their mouth is and invest in the NHS.”