PEOPLE throughout Craven have been urged to protest against encroaching ‘privatisation’ of the National Health Service by joining a march in Leeds on Saturday.

The event, which sees people assemble outside Leeds Art Gallery on the Headrow from 11.30am, has been called by Yorkshire Health Campaigns Together. The group is demanding that the Government restores NHS funding and stops privatisation measures.

The group claims that 75 per cent of acute hospital trusts are in deficit and in the dash to save cash they are outsourcing thousands of staff into companies set up by themselves to avoid VAT and compete for contracts.

Airedale is one of several Yorkshire hospitals that has implemented the changes already.

Organisers maintain that “staff in Leeds and elsewhere are resisting being pushed out of the NHS and dumped into a company which will be able to take on new staff on lower rates, erode conditions of service and be ripe for takeover by private firms.” The march gets underway at 12.15pm and will be followed by a rally back at the art gallery starting at 1.15pm.

This will be addressed by Dr Colin Hutchinson, chairman of ‘Doctors for the NHS,’ as well as shadow minister Karen Lee and Leeds MP Alex Sobel.