Hundreds march through Sheffield to Save the NHS

Save the NHS March from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to the City Centre
Save the NHS March from the Royal Hallamshire Hospital to the City Centre
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OVER 300 people marched from Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital to the Town Hall in protest against Government plans to shake up the NHS.

A rally by the Save the NHS group in the city centre was addressed by a variety of speakers, including GPs, trade unionists and medical students.

A parallel protest by a group called UK Uncut saw a group of around 30 protesters occupying the HSBC branch in Fargate for an hour.

The occupiers made speeches, sang songs and staged performances for passing shoppers as part of joint action taking place in over 30 other towns and cities.

Main speaker at the Town Hall rally was Richard Wootton, a GP who works on the Manor, who warned changes included in the current Government bill threatened to alter the whole character of the service.

Green party councillor Jillian Creasy, herself a GP, also spoke at the rally.

Her fellow councillor Rob Murphy added: “NHS privatisation is creating a two tier system where private patients will jump the queue ahead of less profitable NHS patients.”

“We are also supporting UK Uncut which takes a clear message to our high streets that massive cuts are not necessary if rich individuals, bankers and corporations pay their fair share of taxes. It’s important people continue to support these actions which put people before profit.”

Save the NHS spokesman Andy Turner said: “We don’t need this new legislation - it takes out the service’s duty to provide for the public’s health which is a crucial issue,” he said.

“We are in danger of falling into a privatised health service like we see in the USA. At the moment the Coalition is supposed to be holding a pause to listen to the public - but we don’t think they are listening.

“Cuts are already going ahead in Sheffield and we now hear there are plans to replace some ambulance services with taxis. It is crazy.”

The campaign intends to keep up the pressure by lobbying patients directly outside GP surgeries during June.

A Department of Health spokesman denied the NHS budget was being reduced.

“The NHS budget is not being cut. It has been protected,” he said.

“This Government believes passionately in the NHS and is investing an extra £11.5bn over the next four years, a sign of the commitment to protecting it for the future, so there is no excuse to cut back on services that patients need.

“The plans to modernise the NHS will help to ensure bureaucracy is cut and resources are reinvested into improving the quality of care for patients.”