Health campaigners to hold demo protesting at “crisis in the NHS”

A protest will be held at QEQM Hospital entrance

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.


  1. What is really needed are GPs willing to see patients in person again instead of hanging around over-staffed vaccination centres (where they’re also meeting people in person!).

    What are SONIK’s thoughts on NHS staff refusing to get vaccinated themselves?

  2. I spent a day in the day surgery unit last week, I couldn’t believe there were eight nurses just hanging around chatting at the nurse station. They went through lots of important topics, what they had for dinner the previous evening, what they would have for dinner that evening, what pies they like best, what type of pastry a pie should have, should a pie contain gravy, what time will their wages will go into the bank, a nice easy day finishing hopefully at midday, what’s worth watching on TV, and it just went on and on.

    Sure am glad they provided a follow-up survey of the experience.

    I wonder how the NHS could better spend money on resources, it’s not too difficult to work out.

      • Oh, someone has had a bad day, with all your aggressive comments to several people.

        A typical NHS worker response “it never happened” this is exactly my point, the whole NHS needs a management shake up, ruling out the incompetent managers.
        Hopefully somebody may look into my reply to the survey, about the treatment received, those people know who they were, busy chatting, yet earning a wage to do so.

        I suppose we never see anything on TV or in the news about poor practice in hospital either.

        Do yourself a favour, and get an early night tonight, you may be less grumpy next time you read a comment.

        • That you, Peter Checksfield? Lol.
          I’m not a nurse and I don’t work for the NHS, by the way. I agree about the problems with managers, but you were talking about nurses in your previous comment, weren’t you? I’m am not ashamed of sticking up for nurses. I will do it again and again. Maybe you’d feel happier in yourself if you stopped punching down on the very people who will be there for you in a crisis. Nurses absolutely deserve our support – and you are in the minority thinking otherwise, I’m afraid.

          • But it’s about time some of these nurses actually got on and did some work, how long are they going to use the Covid excuse.

            As in one of my previous comments, why was I told to isolate for three days before attending hospital, did the staff all isolate for 3 days before meeting me, I think we both know the answer to that.

            And by the way, before you blab your reply, yes I’ve had Covid, I actually caught it in hospital back last year.

  3. The NHS needs a VERY BIG shake up. I spent time in hospital last week, I was told to self isolate for 3 days before going in for a procedure. Did the staff self isolate before seeing me? What a pointless task.

    For almost 2 years we have been told to get a jab, and save the NHS.
    I have had 3 vacine jabs, and offered a 4th, but now we learn there are 80,000 NHS staff who haven’t had a jab, therefore putting patient lives at risk. They have been treating us like idiots, all this time, just like Boris.

    The NHS needs a much better management structure to operate more effectively, and efficiently.

        • If any are front line workers they could be redeployed. But HCPs have had mandatory vaccines for decades & this is no different. However admin & non patient fronting workers don’t have to take eg HepB, Rubella, BCG etc

      • Christine Tongue, open your eyes, have you not been watching the news (BBC and Sky), do you not understand why Boris didn’t continue the sacking of unvacinated NHS staff. Just the odd 80,000 that had refused to get vaccinated, look it up, find the evidence, or perhaps go to Specsavers.

          • “Only” 3.5? That is still a lot of people who should know better, yet all of the “Blame the Tories” brigade refuse to condemn them. Fact is, those 3.5% has far more impact on our health than a beer and a bag of crips 18 months ago in Downing Street.

          • Candy Gregory, these non front line workers as you call them, still call themselves NHS heroes, and were among those going to the front of the queue, at places like Tesco. They are an embarrassment to the NHS.

            No more clapping.

          • 3.5% have made that decision. I don’t agree with it myself, but I’m not an authoritarian, so I don’t agree with forcing anyone to get a vaccine. I think most people prefer not to force them, because of course it risks making the reluctance to get vaccinated worse. The protest on Saturday about is about the cash injection the NHS badly needs to maintain safety and good standards of care; it’s about stopping NHS privatisation which ALWAYS costs more and almost always delivers worse outcomes; and raising NHS pay – something which polls show about 80% of the public agree with. But nice try attempting to smear NHS workers, Peter.

          • In response to Candy Gregory, the 80,000 or 3.5% of unvacinated NHS, that have refused to have a jab, that I have seen interviewed on TV, have all been Surgeons, consultants, theater staff, and critical care workers. I haven’t seen any non front line workers interviewed, who have failed to get jabbed, (no doubt there are some), but there is no evidence forwarded of this.

  4. These comment sections are usually full of idiots but on this occasion every comment is 100% correct.

    Even if you can see a GP, the referral is always at Canterbury or William Harvey. What is the point of having The QEQM?

    • The point is that currently, QEQM is still a District General Hospital. It has an A&E and consultants on site. If the powers that be succeed in removing the A&E, maternity and the remaining consultants, QEQM will become a community hospital like the Buckland in Dover. We should all be fighting hard to keep A&E, stroke, and maternity at QEQM. The fact that so many specialisms have been removed from the hospital and centralised at either Canterbury or Ashford is very worrying but it certainly isn’t a reason for doing away with the hospital!! Thanet is a densely populated area with a deprived population. The population here is growing. Our connection by road to Ashford and Canterbury is pretty bad. We need a good hospital here with acute services like A&E. The ambulance service is in a mess and they can’t cope with calls as it is. Many people don’t have access to a car. As Esme says, we in Thanet deserve time critical care, and without it, lives will be lost and others will be suffer from disability or prolonged ill health unnecessarily. It’s a false economy – more ppl needing long-term care or disability support. Not only that – QEQM employs 2000 people. Imagine the impact on people’s lives and our local economy if all those jobs went or were reduced!

  5. When you train to become a registered nurse, you are entering the worse paid graduate profession. You will leave training with a £50k debt & a starting salary the same as a recently advertised kitchen assistant despite the daily stresses & life & death decisions. You will work 13 hour shifts covering 24/7 & experience burnout very quickly. This is why nurses forums are always asking each other for advice on alternative careers. There are 46,000 RN vacancies & @ 8,000 GP vacant posts. If you watch ‘The Great NHS Heist’ ‘Groundswell’ or The Dirty War on the NHS’ or ‘Under The Knife’ on You Tube, you will better understand why you cant get a GP appointment & why there is a SIX year waiting list for a routine surgery.

    • In reply to Esme.

      How can you possibly complain about the wages, you wouldn’t enter the training, and hope for a career at the end, without knowing what the predicted salary would be.

      How can nurses complain about “burn-out” They have spent almost two years on a reduced timetable, yet other occupations have had to continue as normal.

      • Jenny Talia (how witty) – your answers are disgraceful. people like you expect to be treated well when you go into hospital, but expect nurses to cope with debt, PTSD, a ten year wage freeze, burnout and understaffing – and just put up with it. How dare you. Shame on you both. Thank god not everyone has such a selfish approach to others. Also – are you Gary Perkins, by any chance?

        • Carry Jeffrey, the staff are just using Covid as an excuse, so that little work can be done, they are the people that should be ashamed, cheating the tax payer.

          Apart from staff working on Covid wards, what reason would they suffer PTSD? What an hilarious comment. Yet another excuse to be used.

          People are fed up with all these excuses now, other occupations have to carry on as normal.

          Furthermore, so disrespectful that 80,000 NHS staff are unvacinated, putting patient lives at risk.

          • Dear Peter Checksfield aka Jenny Talia – do give it a rest! Numerous polls show that the public support decent pay rises for NHS workers. The public love the NHS and they appreciate what they went through, and are still going through. So many of us have been through times when the NHS was essential and restored us back to health – our loved ones too. You can keep smearing using your different aliases, but at the end of the day you’re in a tiny minority, your views are very extreme, and all you’re doing is boosting this news story which publicises our protest on Saturday (12 noon, QEQM, Ramsgate Road entrance). I guess when so few agree with you, it’s tempting to make up pseudonyms and comment on local news stories so that it appears your views are more popular. But maybe you should ask yourself why you’re putting all this time and effort into such a bitter and negative activity. Anyway, carry on if you want to – as I say it probably boosts the number of views this page gets….
            PS – is it the case that you have to self-publish all your books as no publishers want them? Sorry to be mean, but if you dish it out, you need to be prepared to get it back… especially when it’s nurses that you’re trying to vilify.

    • Sold a dream that turns into a nightmare. Reality dawns slowly. So many leave for better pay, terms & conditions. Hence the huge waiting lists for surgery, unsafe care, poor maternity outcomes etc

      • So, trained by the NHS paid for by our taxes and then leave.
        Just like a lot of the doctors that we pay for their years of training, then they leave to work in other countries.
        After doctors training and when they qualify, they should have to work/practice for a number of years in this country, the country that has trained them, before they up sticks for better salaries at the tax payers expense.

  6. An unvaccinated Care worker of any sort, is an oxymoron, with the emphasis on moron! I have a letter from the NHS saying I am classed as “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable”, so if I go into hospital, even for a day as I did recently, I run the risk of being killed by an unvaccinated nurse! It doesn’t matter if they are not in the ward, they could be spreading the virus in a corridor as they walk around, as a third of people who have the virus, don’t know they have it, and are asymptomatic!

    And yes, this Tory government is trying to break up the NHS prior to selling it off, and why are they forcing Thanet people to go to the William Harvey, or the Kent & Canterbury? Both are not accessible by public transport by either patients, or visitors! Remember this at the next elections!

    • They certainly are morons, glad someone agrees with me.

      As for the Tories’ current approach to the pandemic, they’re now going down the route of “advising” rather than “forcing” people to do things… exactly the same as the NHS are doing with their workers!

      • We see what you’re up to Peter. Classic pivot to another topic – one that allows you to denigrate NHS workers. That’s what you seem to be all about – pivoting to far right talking points. You comment on here non-stop, as if you have little else to do. You’re showing yourself up as a keyboard warrior who doesn’t actually try to make any positive changes in the world – just sneers from the sidelines, trying to muddy the waters. Pretty sad really. Can’t you go out and take some more nude photos to keep yourself amused?

        • Carry Jeffrey

          Why shouldn’t Peter make his comments, he is entitled to his opinion, which I mostly agree with, and find some very informative. It is totally up to him how often he chooses to comment.

          He is entitled to his opinion, so am I, so is Jenny Talia, who you also disagree with. You are entitled to your own comments, but don’t slur people just because you disagree.

  7. Carly Jeffrey complains about people being rude, by being rude and insulting people.
    Sadly, she is part of a cult who believes the NHS can’t be criticised. As someone once said, the NHS is the closest thing we have to a national religion.
    It needs a huge overhaul. Too much waste and inefficiency. Poor communication which is outdated in 2022.
    Some departments have clearly been very busy during the pandemic but not all as outpatient appointments were cancelled for months.

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