JARROW to PARLIAMENT 16th Aug – 6th Sept.

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The Government is set on dismantling our NHS via cuts and privatisation. If we want to save the best and fairest health care system in the world, we are going to have to fight for it. The People’s March for the NHS is an opportunity to show the Lib Dem Tory Coalition that we will do just that.

The march will be arriving in Harrogate Thursday evening 21st Aug, Leeds Friday eve 22nd August and Wakefield Saturday eve 23rd August

Please support the march in whatever way you can, and tell other people about it. Walk if you can, cheer it passing, put up posters, spread the word and/or help in practical ways with food, accommodation, music, transport, funds etc.

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Friday 22nd August

9.30am Join the march on the Stray next to Harrogate Hospital,between Wetherby and Knaresborough Road for the 17 mile walk to Leeds!

3.30 pm Gather to welcome the march to Leeds just above the Ring Road on Harrogate Rd and join the 4 mile walk into the City Centre

4.30pm Welcome and / or join the march on Headingley Lane outside Sainsbury’s for the last 2 miles into town.

5.30pm Join the reception at Victoria Gardens then buffet meal with the marchers at St. George’s Centre, Great George St. next to the Crypt,

Saturday 23rd August

9.30am Assemble at Victoria Gardens outside Leeds Art Gallery for a short rally. Join the march through the City Centre en route to Wakefield.

11am Welcome and/or join the march on Church Street, Hunslet opposite Penny Hill shopping centre.

3.30pm Meet at Pinderfields Hospital where a feeder march from Halifax, Huddersfield and Dewsbury is due to join the main march

5pm Join the reception outside Wakefield Cathedral in Northgate.

Detailed information about each section of the route is at http://www.999callfornhs.org.uk

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Alex Sobel, who will walk with the March from Harrogate and formally welcome the marchers as they enter North Leeds, said:

“The People’s March for the NHS is hugely important to me as a city councillor and parliamentary candidate because it’s the issue that people ask me about most often on the doorstep. I’m proud to join the March on the 22nd August and welcome the marchers to Leeds.

The NHS needs to be valued and protected as the UK health service is the second most cost-effective health system in the developed world, according to a study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. The NHS saves more lives for each pound spent as a proportion of spending than any other country apart from Ireland, over the last 25 years. Among the 17 countries reviewed, the United States healthcare system was among the least efficient and effective.

But now people are seeing it’s harder to get a GP appointment, there are fewer frontline staff, more patients are waiting longer and there is a growing crisis in A&E. In England this year the NHS faces a £2 billion gap in funding to meet its current provision. A £2 billion gap for the second most efficient health system in the world which is already struggling to treat some of the most complex cases due to strained finances.

In addition the Lib Dem-Tory Coalition’s Health and Social Care Act has opened the NHS up to competition from private providers. These providers are measurably less efficient and seek to avoid the most risky cases, sending people with the most complex and expensive needs back to public NHS services.

This is why joining the March isn’t a choice for me. It’s really an obligation for everybody that needs the NHS now and in the future.”

Gilda Peterson, one of the co-ordinators of the Jarrow march in Leeds, commented:

“I will be walking with the Jarrow march because I think the NHS is the best and fairest health care system in the world ( and the recent Commonwealth Fund report report says so!) and if we don’t stand up for it now we will lose it altogether. I dread to think what future our children will inherit if we end up with insurance based health care like in the US where many people don’t get health care because they can’t afford it, medical bills are a major cause of personal bankruptcy and when you are feeling ill and at your most vulnerable you have to worry about money.

I’ll also be walking with the Jarrow march because I am really angry that the Government is constantly getting stories in the press saying the NHS is falling apart and is unsustainable, which just isn’t true. I’m sure that they are trying to soften up the public to accept privatisation. The NHS is struggling to meet demand but that is because the Government is insisting on cutting funding ( £20bn over 5 years) forcing local Commissioning Groups to waste money entering into expensive tendering processes and letting private firms siphon tax payers’ money into shareholders’ pockets. The truth is that if we think decent health care for all is a vital plank of a civilised society then we should organise our society’s priorities to make sure we can pay for it. A good start would be to chase the 120bn unpaid tax bills from huge corporate firms and the very rich.

I particularly like the fact that the march is going from the north east ( where I was born) to the south. This is already promoting links between people up and down the country. It also highlights the greater deprivation and health inequalities in parts of the north that often get ignored by the largely wealthy politicians in the London bubble.

I would urge everyone to get involved in the march, whether it be just to cheer them passing, attend one of the rallies or walk whatever you can. The NHS always reminds me of the motto of the three musketeers ’All for one and one for all’ – that’s exactly what this march is about so let’s get on the road and defend our NHS!”

Download the ‘999 Call for the NHS’ campaign’s myth-busting leaflet about Nye Bevan’s founding principles for NHS and how the LibDemTories are destroying it here.Screen shot 2014-08-08 at 14.51.45Britain can be better than this.

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