Health campaigners will converge on Hartlepool town centre as part of the fight for the town’s hospital and protection of the NHS.
A host of speakers will address the public at the Emergency Call for NHS rally in Victory Square tomorrow.
The event has been organised by the campaign group Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital to campaign for greater use of the University Hospital of Hartlepool and proposed changes to the way health care is delivered which it says are a threat to the NHS.
Glen Hughes, deputy chair of Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital, said: “The rally holds great strength behind the speakers who have given up their time, but it means nothing if the people of Hartlepool and surrounding areas don’t get out and support it.
“The idea came about as all these plans were being put in place behind closed doors without consultation to the public, and people needed to know about it. NHS England’s current proposals are the biggest shake up of the NHS ever, but it’s frightening how little people know, especially here in Hartlepool.
“That is why we feel it so important to hold this rally to get people talking about what is happening to their NHS.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us as current services, especially for A&E, are inadequate but these proposals could make things even more dangerous if we are left with the only option of travelling to James Cook in Middlesbrough instead of North Tees for A&E provision.”
Speakers, both local and from further afield, will gather at the war memorial from noon.
They will include Peter Stefanovic, a London lawyer and NHS campaigner, and junior doctor Kishan Rees who is based in Lincoln County Hospital and has spoken out before about a break up and privatisation of the NHS.
They will be joined by Bob Gill, a GP who is currently filming a documentary about the privatisation of the NHS, and Jo Adams, founder of the 999 Call for the NHS campaign group.
Representing East Durham will be the Mayor of Peterlee, Councillor Mary Cartwright and Barry Chambers from the Durham Miners’ Association.
Glen added: “We are asking for a show of support from the people of Hartlepool and the surrounding area, and this is a real opportunity to highlight the feelings about our NHS and how we want to protect it.”
Campaigners are encouraged to take placards and banners, but are asked to be respectful given the rally’s location.