NHS staff demonstrate in Manchester: ‘we will be overwhelmed again’

  • NHS workers from Manchester demonstrate against Tier 3 restrictions
  • £22m allocated to improve Track and Trace 'is not enough'
  • Hospitals across Greater Manchester reaching capacity of ICU beds

NHS workers from across the Greater Manchester region have criticised the government’s lack of support for the North West.

Protesters gathered in Picadilly Gardens on Saturday to express dismay at the unilateral decision to move Greater Manchester into Tier 3 – where the toughest restrictions are in place.

The new measures were brought in as infection rates in the region continue to increase. In the week ending October 20, every borough in Greater Manchester was at least one-and-a-half times the national average.

The increase in infection rates is putting huge strain on the region’s hospitals and key workers.

woman, speaking, gazebo, Manchester, rainy
Emma Runswick, a junior doctor, speaking to protesters         Picture: Valentine Fourreau

Speaking to the Northern Quota, Emma Runswick, an NHS junior doctor in the Bolton area, said the region’s health services were struggling.

“We have been overwhelmed and we will be overwhelmed again,” she said.

“The difficulties that we are facing are vast – not just with rising infection rates. We have a pretty good PPE supply in the Bolton area, but we can’t guarantee if that will continue.”

Dr Runswick said the £22m allocated to improvement of the “track and trace” mechanism was not enough.

She said: “We need a system that supports people in order to maintain public health, rather than a system that leaves people on their own.”

Other NHS workers addressed protestors at the demonstration to oppose the government’s move.

Dan, a nurse working in Salford, said that “people make up the NHS, not the government.”

He paid tribute to the more than 600 NHS staff who have died after contracting coronavirus from patients.

Leaked documents to The Guardian this week showed that intensive care beds are in dangerously short supply in Stockport, Bolton and Salford.