Protestors gathered in Southampton on Saturday morning, calling for the renationalisation of the NHS.

Campaigners stood outside West Quay to hand passers-by postcards that they hoped would be sent on to the shadow health secretary, challenging his stance on the NHS.

It comes after shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, stated that if Labour won the next UK general election, private companies would be used to tackle NHS waiting lists.

Data from the British Medical Association shows that 7.75 million people are waiting for NHS appointments in England, as of August 2023.

Campaigner Helen Field told the Echo: “We don’t think the solution to end the waiting list of nearly eight million people is to use private healthcare.

“The solution is to invest in NHS staff and use the NHS, because when private healthcare – for surgery for example – they’re using NHS surgeons and consultants who are being taken away from the NHS.

Daily Echo:

“So, on the surface it looks like it’s solving the problem, but it isn’t in the long-term.”

The protest began at around 11am on Saturday morning and saw banners held up calling for investment in the health service.

It lasted for about an hour and a half. 

Helen added that she thought renationalising the NHS was the most economical way to run the health service.

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“Look at America, the biggest cause of bankruptcy amongst citizens is because they can’t pay their medical health bills, I think that says it all.”

Combating NHS waiting lists is something that’s close to Helen’s heart as she’s been waiting for an eye operation for two years.

She said: “I’ve been waiting for a cornea transplant for two years, but there are others who are waiting for hip replacements and things like that.

Daily Echo:

“There are also people who are waiting for mental health referrals.

“That to me is so important, because if you can help people with mental health at the beginning of their trauma, you save money in the long run in all sorts of ways further down the line.”

Commenting on whether enough was being done to support the NHS, she said: “I think the government is actually not supporting the NHS.

“Even though they keep saying ‘we’ve put more billions in than ever before’, maybe there ought to be a public inquiry because it’s not going to the front line.”