NHS campaigners stage protest outside Leeds General Infirmary

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Campaigners who want to keep the NHS public staged a demonstration outside Leeds General Infirmary on Saturday to highlight the impact of the 'winter crisis' on the health service.

Around 30 people with placards, banners and musical instruments gathered near the Jubilee Wing at noon to support the NHS and its staff.

Organised by Leeds KONP (Keep our NHS Public), campaigners wanted to call attention to the "winter crisis and ongoing serious under-funding issues" facing health services in our city.

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It was part of a national day of action by KONP at hospitals across the country.

Leeds Keep our NHS Public campaigners outside Leeds General Infirmary.Leeds Keep our NHS Public campaigners outside Leeds General Infirmary.
Leeds Keep our NHS Public campaigners outside Leeds General Infirmary.

The organisation has demanded an "end to the crisis, adequate funding for the NHS, an end to pay freezes and an end to privatisation."

Inadequate staffing levels, risk of cyber attack and delayed waiting lists for diagnostic test referrals were just some of the ‘significant risk’ factors affecting hospitals in Leeds, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported in November.

John Puntis, Co-Chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said many people they talked to were not aware of the extent of the issues in the NHS.

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"Very few people are unaware that there have been problems in the NHS, but not always of just how severe it is," he said.

He said some people had been "reassured" by promises made by the Government during the General Election campaign.

"We have to explain that they money on offer may be enough to tread water, but it is not going to sort out the problems or improve services," he added.

"We see our role as holding the Government to account for the promises they made.

"We expect to do a lot more campaigning."

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LGI found itself at the centre of election campaign debate after the YEP reported on the case of a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia who was forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of beds.

Election pledges made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson also included 40 new hospitals, although it was later revealed funding was only allocated for six to receive building work by 2025.

LGI is getting two new wings as part of the funding.

It also emerged that of 50,000 new nurses promised, only 31,000 would actually be new recruits.