The NHS is on a ‘burning platform’ and requires urgent action to be saved, according to the GPs and practice managers who took to the stage at Friday’s ‘Bring Back the NHS’ event.
The event’s host Sir Ian McKellen introduced a line up of medical professionals, as well as singer-songwriter Charlotte Church and director Danny Boyle, to explain the crisis in the NHS to an audience of 1,000 at Central Hall in Westminster.
Dr Jim Sikorski, a GP at Sydenham Green Practice in Lewisham, delivered an impassioned indictment of the current state of mental health services. He said: ‘Don’t be deceived by the rhetoric. These services are suffering significant cuts.
‘We must be honest to the electorate. Efficiency savings, quick savings, the Nicholson challenge – whatever you want to call it – means cutting funding and cutting services.’
Drawing a comparison with the bailout of the banks during the financial crisis, he asked the audience, ‘surely the NHS is too important to fail?’
Virginia Patania, practice manager of Jubilee Street Practice in Tower Hamlets, said the removal of MPIG went against the ‘founding principles’ of the NHS, adding that the NHS was on a ‘burning platform’ and required urgent action.
Charlotte Church, speaking as an NHS user, said: ‘The very fact that the single most enlightened social achievement of post-war Britain, our national health service, is under genuine threat of being carved up and sold off fills me with despair.’
Although Sir Ian declared a ‘no electioneering’ policy, he closed the event by urging audience members to ‘vote – with the NHS in mind’.
Picture credit: Patricia Ng’ang’a.