NHS March heading for Hucknall area on Thursday

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A national march to oppose Government cuts to the National Health Service will be passing through the Dispatch district on Thursday.

The 300 mile People’s March for the NHS is currently making its way down the country and is organised by a group of mothers from Darlington, in County Durham.

Following in the footsteps of the famous Jarrow Marchers back in 1936, the mothers are campaigning for a repeal of the Health and Social Care Act.

The protest is gaining momentum as it travels towards the capital and is hoping to attract supporters from the Hucknall region.

“This will be a family-friendly gathering to celebrate all that we cherish about the National Health Service and to inspire us to make sure we can pass it on as our gift to the next generation,” siad organiser Ann Donlan.

They are calling on the Government to reverse the closure of NHS services, halt the privatisation of NHS care, and return responsibility for delivering NHS services to the Secretary State for Health.

The march is also aimed at raising awareness of what is currently happening with privatisation of NHS services, campaigners said.

The protest event will leave King’s Mill Hospital at 10am and aims to arrive in Hucknall around 1pm before heading towards the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham for 5pm.

Nottinghamshire County Council passed a motion which was agreed at the Full Council meeting in July pledging the authority’s support for the march.

Coun Alex Norris, portfolio holder for adults, commissioning and health, said: “The determination of this group of mothers to have their voices heard on a matter so important to every family in the country is inspirational, and we support the aims and intentions of this march.

“We value the belief that universal healthcare should remain free to all.

“The council recognises the threat to the NHS from legislation including the Health and Social Care Act (2012) and the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - both of which put profits before people.”

Sherwood Labour Party Parliamentary Candidate, Leonie Mathers, will also be taking part in the march and is asking others to join her.

“I’m proud to join hundreds of people who are marching the length of the country for the future of our NHS,” said Ms Mathers. “With the pressure this Government are putting on public spending, we’ve seen growing problems with GP services here in Hucknall, as well as in the Ambulance and A&E care that we rely on in an emergency and long term services like mental health.

“We are sending a message to David Cameron that we deserve better, and I would urge anyone who values our NHS to join us this Thursday.

“We’ve been out leafleting along the route and speaking to people at events like the fun day on Saturday - we’ve had a lot of support and been hearing some really touching personal stories about people’s experiences in the NHS.”

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer will not be joining the protest but issued this statement:“I can fully understand the anxieties and concerns that people have whenever changes are being made to our NHS.

“The NHS is, in my opinion, one of the greatest achievements of our country and the principles of a National Health Service, funded through taxation and free at the point of use will never be infringed.

“This Government cares deeply about the Health Service which is why its budget has been protected, unlike in Labour controlled Wales where cuts have been made to health care with catastrophic consequences.

“We all rely on the Health Service and we all support it which is why the Government is so determined to ensure it can continue to deliver the exceptional standard of care to which we have become accustomed. If this is to be possible then changes put forward in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 need to be implemented.

“I must stress that this is NOT privatisation in any way. It is simply carrying on the process of allowing carefully selected healthcare companies to take certain NHS services, this brings waiting times down and saves the NHS money.

“On this basis I support this bill and continue to vote for it”

Further details on the march can be found at http://999callfornhs.org.uk.