NHS protesters march across Gloucestershire
ANGER at proposed NHS cuts and possible privatisation of services was expressed at protests across the county.
Age proved no barrier to the campaign, as young and old turned out to the Stroud Against Cuts protests at Gloucestershire Royal and Stroud General hospitals and to meetings at Cinderford, Lydney and Coleford on Saturday.
Campaigners battled torrential downpours to voice their anger at cuts that they say could decimate the quality of care. Stroud Against Cuts hope the action will help pile the pressure on NHS bosses to chose a standalone NHS Trust to take over the running of some services, and not give in to pressure from private companies to auction them off.
Andrew Causon, who joined the campaign group out side Gloucester Royal Hospital, said: "There is a broad attack on the NHS and we are urging other options to be considered as the effects of these cuts will be devastating.
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"We are facing up to cuts worth around £150 million in the coming years. This will have a direct effect on the patients at Gloucester Royal and it was important people voiced their concerns."
He added: "Privatisation is not the answer."
It comes as NHS Gloucestershire said 63 organisations had shown an interest in running community health services in the county.
They placed adverts asking groups, which could include private bodies, NHS organisations or those wishing to set up a social enterprise, to show an "expression of interest" in services including nine community hospitals, district nursing and 3,000 staff.
They have received 63 expressions of interest, with formal confirmations from less than 10.
The deadline for expressions is 5pm today and the health body will then examine the options.