Hundreds protest in Hull city centre against NHS cuts
CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save services at the region's main hospitals say they plan to take their fight to the Government's Health Secretary.
The Save Our NHS Hull And East Yorkshire group organised a march through Hull city centre at the weekend as Hull And East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust is under pressure to save £99 million.
The efficiency savings have to be made by 2018 and include ward closures and bed losses.
The campaigners demonstrated the level of their concern and there was also a speech from former Hull East MP Lord Prescott in Queen Victoria Square.
Fun Casino X2 Tables X1 Roulette X1 Blackjack Incl Prizes
Solo Or Duo
Discount Price £1995.00
Call 01482 423259
All Dates Subject To Availibility
All Bookings Confirmed In Writing
Contact: 01482 423259
Valid until: Monday, December 30 2013
About 450 people turned out for the march, with many carrying placards and banners.
Group secretary Dermot Rathbone, 44, of Kirk Ella, who suffers from a degenerative brain condition called cerebellar ataxia, said campaigners now plan to lobby MPs and take a report to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He said: "We are writing a report to show how the effects of the cuts are going to be a total disaster.
"The cuts are disproportionate to the rest of the country and we can't absorb this level of cutbacks, given the challenges we face locally.
"In the East Riding, you have issues with an ageing population.
"In Hull, because of the poverty indicators and drug and alcohol abuse, it brings the health service under a great deal of strain.
"We want to work with the trust because it needs this money to deliver the best service possible."
Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust runs Hull Royal Infirmary and Castle Hill Hospital in Cottingham and its latest financial plan means £24 million of the £99 million has to be saved this year.
The campaign group has launched a petition calling for a rebate of the money from the Government. So far, 3,000 signatures have been collected.
Their concerns follow the recent closure of ward six, a specialist cardiac ward at Castle Hill Hospital, and other planned cutbacks.
Mr Rathbone said the march, which saw demonstrators walk down King Edward Street, Prospect Street, Spencer Street, Ferensway and Carr Lane, was a success and helped raise awareness.
He said: "It is really raising the profile of what we are doing.
"We have to stand and fight. It's about people power.
"It was a really big event and very noticeable, and people were very supportive. In terms of educating people, it was really successful."
GMB union member Grant Dobbs, 28, of north Hull, was among those who took part.
He said: "Not everybody uses the NHS every day. But when we need it, it might not be there for us in the future.
"All around the world, you have to pay for health care. We are proud of our NHS and we need to fight to save it.
"Every bit of awareness we can raise will make it better.
"There were people shopping and they saw our banners. It's putting it at the forefront of people's minds."