Campaigners start drive to save services

Participants in a rally to defend the NHS demonstrate outside the main entrance of QA Hospital     Picture: Vernon Nash (180381-139)
Participants in a rally to defend the NHS demonstrate outside the main entrance of QA Hospital Picture: Vernon Nash (180381-139)

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SAVE our NHS!

That is the message from campaigners in the city who held a rally at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham on Saturday as part of their mission to defend Britain’s free healthcare services from government cuts.

The Grim Reaper''Picture by Vernon Nash (180381-028)

The Grim Reaper''Picture by Vernon Nash (180381-028)

Organiser Vikki Horton said: ‘The NHS is the best thing we have in Britain and we need to keep it free to ensure everyone has access to the healthcare they need when they need it.

‘If we let it become privatised we will never be able to get it back and people could then face having to choose between paying their mortgage or putting food on the table for their family and going to hospital or to see their GP.’

Participants gathered at The Hard from 10am and also marched through Cosham High Street before heading to the front of QA Hospital.

Vikki said: ‘We are launching our Hampshire and Isle of Wight ‘Defend the NHS’ campaign and have got hundreds of signatures today for a petition to be sent to the government to plead with them not to make the austerity cuts.’

Some campaigners dressed up for the occasion with one sporting a homemade dress with key messages of the drive, including ‘cuts kill’, while another donned a grim reaper suit.

Allan Lansdowne, a campaigner from Huddersfield, came down to support the launch in Portsmouth.

He said: ‘Up in the north we all support each other and so when I heard about this event I thought I would share that support down south.

‘And that is because we are all having the same problem in that the administration is cutting vital hospital services which means if you have a car accident you might have to go 40 minutes to the nearest hospital with an A&E department because the local one was closed.’

Vikki added: ‘It is great to get support from other groups and residents, but we have a long way to go.’