National march to save NHS comes to St Albans

PUBLISHED: 10:31 04 September 2014

The NHS

The NHS

Archant

A protest rally and march are being held in the heart of St Albans to help “save the NHS”.

Campaigners are to gather in the city centre at 9am tomorrow (Friday) before embarking on the next leg of a 300-mile-long march, to show their support for the NHS and raise awareness about health services.

Dubbed the 999 Call for the NHS, it has been organised by a group of women, led by a call centre worker from County Durham.

The march follows the basic route of the 1936 Jarrow Crusade, which was held to protest against mass unemployment.

It started earlier this month when campaigners set off from Jarrow, and will reach London on Saturday (6) for a rally in Trafalgar Square.

On their website, campaigners said it was “really hard to passively watch the rapid dismantling, privatisation and destruction of the NHS.

“We don’t want to see private companies operating in the NHS under the heading of ‘efficiency’ when we know they are accountable to their shareholders, who are only interested in maximum profit before patient health care.”

The 18.4 mile leg from St Albans to Edmonton starts at 9am from St Peter’s Street, with those marching expected to arrive at their destination by 5.30pm.

There will also be a rally at St Albans Civic Centre tonight (Thursday) at 5.30pm. The organisers said they would “love to see” as many people as possible joining them at either the rally or the march.

Among those attending is the St Albans Welwyn and Hatfield Trades Council.

Secretary Jon Berry said: “I am sure the people of St Albans will be proud to support this event as it passes through our city.

“The devastation caused to the NHS can be clearly seen in a city of this size with diminished hospital services and a service that is clearly under enormous strain.

“The Trades Council stands firmly behind all of those who take action against the attacks on the health service.”

Jon said that after the rally there will be a social event at Fleetville Community Centre to welcome the marchers before they set out on the penultimate leg of the march.

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