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14% of Leeds NW patients waited a week or more for a GP appointment – just one reason why Alex Sobel joined the March for the NHS

The People’s March for the NHS is hugely important to me as a city councillor and parliamentary candidate because it’s the issue that people ask me about most often on the doorstep. I was proud to join the March on the 22nd August and welcome the marchers to Leeds.

The NHS needs to be valued and protected as the UK health service is the second most cost-effective health system in the developed world, according to a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The NHS saves more lives for each pound spent as a proportion of spending than any other country apart from Ireland, over the last 25 years. Among the 17 countries reviewed, the United States healthcare system was among the least efficient and effective.IMG_2501.jpg

But now people are seeing it’s harder to get a GP appointment – here in Leeds NW, for example, around 14% of patients waited a week or more for a GP appointment in the last year.

There are fewer frontline staff, more patients are waiting longer and there is a growing crisis in A&E.

In England this year the NHS faces a £2 billion gap in funding to meet its current provision. A £2 billion gap for the second most efficient health system in the world which is already struggling to treat some of the most complex cases due to strained finances. 

In addition the Lib Dem-Tory Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act has opened the NHS up to competition from private providers. These providers are measurably less efficient and seek to avoid the most risky cases, sending people with the most complex and expensive needs back to public NHS services. 

The nation is quite rightly proud of the NHS, its principles and values, and they want to see them preserved for future generations. This march clearly shows just how much support there is for the NHS across the country. 

The Government have taken some really concerning steps in the last four years which threaten the very nature of what the NHS stands for, like putting private profit ahead of patient care and tying the NHS up in complicated competition law.

This march is all about sending out a clear message that people won’t just stand by and let six decades of NHS values be eroded away.

This is why joining the March wasn’t a choice for me. It was really an obligation - for everybody that needs the NHS now and in the future.

The March has now left Leeds - but it's not too late to support them.

Sign their petition here - 

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