Hundreds attend Brighton protest to 'defend the NHS'

The protesters
Image caption The protesters are concerned that financial plans are disguising cuts to staffing and services

Hundreds of people have attended a march and rally in Brighton to demand more money for an NHS "in crisis".

The Brighton protest, organised by a coalition of groups, ended with a rally outside the railway station.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the city, which has a hospital in special measures, was at the forefront of a crisis caused by underfunding.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: "We know the NHS is very busy, which is why we have invested £10bn."

Protester Katrina Miller, of Sussex Defend the NHS, said the problems had been caused by "a political decision not to fund our health and social care properly."

The local NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) said it was "looking at how services are delivered".

Image caption Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust runs hospitals in Brighton and Haywards Heath

On Friday it emerged Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust has been on the highest possible state of alert every day since Christmas and expects to continue like that all winter.

'Not sustainable'

Mr McDonnell, who joined the march, said: "[The government is] not investing enough and the money is there.

"It is mismanagement by the government, not by the NHS."

A Department of Health spokesperson said the £10bn was to "fund the NHS's own plan to transform services".

"Supported by an extra £400m of funding, hospitals are also putting in place steps to cope with the extra demands winter brings," said the spokesperson.

NHS High Weald Lewes Havens CCG said in a statement the NHS and social care system was facing "significant" challenges.

It said: "It is clear that the services are coping with unprecedented levels of demand and the current situation is not sustainable.

"We are currently looking at how services are delivered... to ensure that we identify the best options for safeguarding our NHS and social care system."

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