Campaign grows against NHS cuts

Campaigners hit the streets of Hastings
Campaigners hit the streets of Hastings

ALMOST 1,000 people signed a petition against the proposed NHS reforms, in Hastings town centre on Saturday, September 3.

Union members, local NHS staff, patients and labour activists, were among the 50 people who came to help out at the campaign stand.

The campaign, We Love Our NHS, organised by Labour activists and the trade unions, was launched in many locations across the country as a response to the Government’s proposed changes to the healthcare system and the revised Health and Social Care Bill, which was debated in parliament this week.

Sarah Owen, NHS Campaign Coordinator for the GMB union, said: “There was a fantastic turn out to support the NHS. We spoke to over 1000 people on the day and many of them were rightly angry about any plans to privatise the NHS and cut local services.”

The volunteers at the stand spoke to members of the public in Hastings town centre in the morning, before relocating to Rye in the afternoon.

Jonathan Lee, Senior Charge Nurse at the Conquest Hospital, said: “I am proud to work in a health service which is the envy of the world.  It is a health service with the founding principles based on an individual’s needs and not the ability to pay.  It is this principle which the bill removes.” 

Liberal Democrat parliamentary campaigner Nick Perry also expressed concern about the Bill, and the possible effect on local services.

He said: “There is still not enough local government involvement and accountability within the proposals. For the Conquest, it might mean the loss of Maternity and Emergency Services.”

MP for Hastings and Rye Amber Rudd said: “There are cuts that need to be made.

“I am 100 per cent supportive of the NHS, locally and nationally, and will be listening very carefully to the bill.”