Pro-NHS rally’s 300-mile march ends in London

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A 300-mile march organised by a group of mothers from County Durham ended in a pro-NHS rally in London.

The Darlo Mums from Darlington are opposed to what they call the privatisation of the NHS.

The organisers said around 30 people have taken three weeks to march the total of 300 miles from Jarrow in South Tyneside.

According to the government, the use of the private sector by the NHS has only increased marginally during the last four years.

The march commenced on August 16 and is a re-enactment of the Jarrow March which took place during 1936 in protest against unemployment and poverty during the Great Depression.

Health campaigners and trade unionists also became involved in the march. The protesters passed through a number of cities and towns, including Leicester, Sheffield and Leeds and held rallies along their route. According to police, around 3000 to 5000 people attended the Trafalgar Square rally.

The campaign has been adopted by a number of high-profile fires, including social commentator and writer, Owen Jones; singer-songwriter, Billy Bragg, and the shadow health secretary, Andy Burnham.

The protest is focused on the government’s Health and Social Care Act 2012, which critics have stated has opened the NHS to privatisation. However, the government claims that the new act has offered health professional more power as regards decision-making.

The call from the protestors is for the legislation to be repealed.

The founder of Darlo Mums, Joanna Adams, said the entire event has been magic. She said the sheer number of protestors that gathered indicates that people are in support of the NHS and the organisation. She said there is no place for profit in public health.

A spokesman from the Department of Health said the use of the private sector within the NHS represents only 6% of the total budget, which is a 1% increase since May 2010.

According to the spokesman, other healthcare providers, social enterprises and charities have an important role to play in the NHS.

Image Credit: 38 Degrees

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