Report: Northern March for the NHS

The Northern March for the NHS on July 1st in Leeds attracted about 600 supporters. The march was called by Keep Our NHS Public and 24 unions branches across the North.

The timing came the same week as the well-respected Health Research body, the Kings’ Fund, published its report:

“The UK lags behind other countries in its capital investment, and has substantially fewer key physical resources than many of its peers, including CT and MRI scanners and hospital beds. The UK has strikingly low levels of key clinical staff, including doctors and nurses, and is heavily reliant on foreign-trained staff. Remuneration for some clinical staff groups also appears to be less competitive in the UK than in peer countries.” (How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries? | The King’s Fund (

Many health campaigners and trades unions activists brought banners and placards from Barnsley, Calderdale, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Liverpool,Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stockport, York. The march was led by the PCS Samba band and nurses.

The demands for better NHS funding, pay justice for health workers, an end to privatisation and a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the NHS were the themes. The march was loud, colourful and attracted applause as we wound our way around the streets of Leeds.

We had great speakers- the Deputy Leader of Leeds Council, Rhean from RCN, Doctors in UNITE -Patients Not Passports- DPAC- NEU National Exec, RMT and more. Richard Burgon MP did a rousing speech at the end.

The lack of Labour Party banners this year was noticeable. It is essential that health campaigners challenge the drift to the right in Labour and their policies that increase funding for parasitical private health companies.

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