Campaigners are holding a protest in Thanet next weekend against a “crisis in the NHS.”
Save Our NHS In Kent (SONIK) will be demonstrating against what they claim is a critical shortage of GPs in the area as well as a general running down the NHS and increasing privatisation.
SONIK’s Pauline Farrance, an independent Thanet councillor, said: “In one Thanet surgery there are 7,000 patients per GP compared to a national average of about 2,000 per patient. This is absolutely horrendous.”
Pauline said current proposals for increased house building in Thanet are likely to make the GP shortage even more dangerous. She said: “Our services are so stretched already — we cannot consider any new homes until this over-riding problem of GP services is addressed.”
Local NHS bosses, Pauline says, have failed to take action. She said: “For the last three years I have been actively campaigning and lobbying for the authorities to offer incentives like golden handshake and enhanced payments for GPS to work in a deprived areas like Thanet, but they have steadfastly refused. They are failing local people.”
The demonstration is part of a national day of action.
SONIK’s Candy Gregory, a registered nurse and also an independent Thanet councillor, said: “The NHS is in crisis and has been way before the pandemic. The staff are broken, underpaid, understaffed and over worked.”
She says the current government’s agenda has always been to privatise the parts of the NHS and centralise non-profitable services such A&E.
The national campaign is calling for emergency funding of £20 billion; the guarantee of a publicly owned NHS and social care with free healthcare for future generations; fair pay for staff and reduced waiting times for patients.
Carly Jeffrey, of SONIK, said: “This protest ties together a number of issues that are central to SONiK’s mission – the NHS needs to be funded adequately but that money must also go to the right places. There’s a staffing crisis; NHS frontline staff need better pay. Waiting times are increasing; the remedy for that is not to divert public money to the private sector. This is what we are protesting about.”
The protest will be on Saturday (February 26) at noon outside the Ramsgate Road entrance of Margate’s QEQM hospital.