A RECENTLY retired Leeds Children’s Hospital doctor was among campaigners and musicians who took part in a ‘protest and celebration’ organised by Leeds Keep Our NHS Public
The organisation wanted to celebrate the work done by health staff and protest at what they claim is underfunding and understaffing of the NHS.
Former consultant paediatrician Dr John Puntis, of Roundhay, joined more than a dozen banner-waving protestors who gathered outside Leeds General Infirmary’s Jubilee Wing on Saturday morning.
Dr Puntis, 65, who worked at Leeds General Infirmary from 1990 until his retirement in December 2018, said that he believes the NHS is currently under “enormous pressure.”
Dr Puntis said: “There are almost 100,000 vacancies now including almost 40,000 unfilled nurses posts.
“It makes everyone that much more busy and stressed because people are having to cover and that’s not good for them and it’s not good for the patients.”
“I think the NHS is in a very bad state. It is chronically underfunded and understaffed.“
Dr Puntis said members of the public were keen to hear what protestors had to say.
He said: “The atmosphere was good. We were joined by a group of folk musicians who played music to entertain us and the public.
“There was a lot of interest among the passers by.
Leeds Keep Our NHS Public campaigns for a publicly funded and publicly provided NHS.
The group’s secretary Gilda Peterson, 72, of Chapel Allerton, said: “We are celebrating the fact that the (NHS) staff are managing to carry on and keep going and provide brilliant care for all of us.
“They are incredibly down on staff, but they keep going. We wanted to do that and we wanted to protest.”
MEMBERS of Leeds Keep Our NHS Public will be taking part in a ‘March for the NHS’ through the city next month.
Pressure group Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together is organising the march on Saturday March 30.
People taking part are being asked to assemble outside Leeds Art Gallery on The Headrow at 11.30am on the day.
The march will take a circular route through Leeds city centre before arriving back at Leeds Art Gallery.
There will be a rally and speeches from 1pm.