A small group of volunteers braved the wind, rain and the cold in Rye last Saturday with the aim of collecting more than 500 signatures in a campaign to stop further privatisation of the National Health Service. They were taking part in a day of action co-ordinated by 38 Degrees. In total more than 10,000 sympathisers joined in across England.
In Rye, outside Jempson’s supermarket, shoppers were given the opportunity to express their concerns by signing a petition which is to be sent to all parliamentary candidates standing for election in the area.
The petition asks each candidate to commit to protecting the NHS from privatisation, to ensure it has the funding it needs to deliver high quality health care and to keep the NHS out of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal with the United States.
Maureen Rhea, a campaigner from Fairlight, said: “I was heartened by the overwhelmingly positive response from the public. Many people had personal accounts to relate about how important the NHS had been and continued to be in their lives. So very different from the often negative information frequently given by the national media.”
She added: “This campaign is aimed at all MPs regardless of party politics. They ignore this issue at their peril.”
David Babbs, executive director of the campaigning pressure group 38 Degrees, said: “The fact that so many people took to the streets on such a cold and dismal winter’s day, proves how much we all think about the NHS. The NHS is the best healthcare system in the world and it belongs to all of us. Too many politicians have ignored the doctors and nurses on the frontline. They’ve turned their backs on the principle of an NHS owned by all of us that works to save lives not make money.
“Candidates should take these petitions very seriously. If they want to represent local people in parliament, that starts with listening to the issues they care about – like the NHS.” If you wish to sign the petition follow this link.
News story source and photo: Maureen Rhea and 38 Degrees