Love shown for NHS at Arrowe Park

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Defend Our NHS with Valentine’s Day card for Arrowe Park Hospital staff. Pic © Kevin Donovan

A huge Valentine’s Day card expressing love for the NHS was signed by a group gathered at Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral to show their appreciation.

Around 30 ‘Defend Our NHS’ campaigners met at the hospital on Saturday to support the health service and its staff, notably following the coronavirus scare, with Arrowe Park involved in a mass-quarantine this month.

According to literature handed out by the group, the current ‘winter crisis’ has involved the longest waits ever in A&E, “hospital buildings crumbling”, 4.6 million people on waiting lists for treatment, 5,449 deaths linked to patients in need of beds, and the longest ever waits for cancer care.

One of the main organisers of the group, Kevin Donovan, a retiree from Liverpool now living in Birkenhead, spoke to JMU Journalism about his involvement. He said: “We are the fifth richest country in the world. Our NHS for years has been regarded as an efficient and enviable model.

“We see the alternative that this government is aiming for, which is the American system where two thirds of bankruptcies are caused because people can’t pay for their health insurance.”

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Defend Our NHS has been active since 2011 and has since become a national movement.

Stan Webster, the Labour Party candidate for Moreton West and Saughall Massie at the 2019 local elections and Defend Our NHS group member, told JMU Journalism: “The difficulty we have with the NHS is that because of the regard we have for it as an institution and the gratitude we have for the times it has been there for us and our families, we cannot imagine a time when it might not be there.

Leaflets distributed by Defend our NHS on the day of the demonstration. Pic © Hannah Martin JMU Journalism

“It is unimaginable for us to consider that our basic health provision might cease to be free at the point of need. For these reasons we seem immune to the constant reports of the continuing and worsening crisis in the NHS.”

Conservative politicians have delivered reassurances that the NHS is safe in their hands. Election pledges made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson focused on the delivery of 40 new hospitals, although it was later revealed funding was only allocated for only six by 2025.

A target of bringing in 50,000 more nurses was also announced, however only 31,000 would be new recruits. Concerns about the impact of Brexit on the NHS have also been raised, but these have been dismissed by Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock.

Writing in the Daily Express, MP Hancock said: “We are already backing our NHS with the biggest cash injection in history, an extra £34 billion every year by 2023/24 and I want to go even further. Leaving the EU means we are now free to determine our own future and unleash the enormous potential of the British people.”

About Hannah Martin, JMU Journalism