Leeds paramedic speaks at Labour NHS rally

A paramedic of 27 years has spoken of her pride in the job as NHS services come under pressure this winter.

Debbie Wilkinson

At a rally tonight Leeds ambulance worker Debbie Wilkinson told how she got upset at the sound of a 999 siren during stressful times as a paramedic on the NHS frontline.

Miss Willkinson appeared with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at tonight's event in London, organised to call for an emergency budget to boost health service funding.

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Miss Wilkinson, who represents members of the Unite union at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, was invited to give a speech at the rally at Central Methodist Hall, Westminster.

Bramley-based Miss Wilkinson said: "Believe me it’s stressful enough attending a call on blue lights and sirens. But more and more these days, when we get there, we’re greeted by people saying they’ve been waiting ages.

"It builds up and it ends up making you ill. I’ve just been off sick myself. Every time I heard a siren, I got upset because I wasn’t there helping my colleagues and helping patients. But I couldn’t have been at work because if I’m not on my game, people die.

Labour said NHS England figures out morning showed that so far this winter, 89,161 patients had waited outside hospitals for between 30-60 minutes in the back of ambulances, and 26,845 waited for more than an hour.

At tonight's rally Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was due to say: "We simply can't go on like this. The government must bring forward an emergency budget for the NHS to give it the money it needs and end this crisis."