National Health Service campaigners stop in Hartlepool on 110-mile march in protest at cuts and ‘privatisation’

A campaign in protest at service cuts in the National Health Service stopped off in Hartlepool tonight.

The Footprints March for the NHS arrived at the University Hospital of Hartlepool - the latest stop in an eight-day march around the region.

The Footprints March for the NHS at University Hospital of Hartlepool.  Campaigner Jo Land.

The Footprints March for the NHS at University Hospital of Hartlepool. Campaigner Jo Land.

The walk began on Saturday in Northallerton and is due to end in Darlington this Saturday - after 110 miles.

Organisers claim it is a protest at “rapid, wide ranging cuts to health services” which they say will put lives at risk.

They claim a project by NHS bosses in 44 areas of the country to formulate Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STP) will mean further opportunities for NHS services to be privatised and cuts to NHS services across the region.

Health chiefs say the project is to improve efficiency and sustainability of services into the future.

The Footprints March for the NHS at University Hospital of Hartlepool.

The Footprints March for the NHS at University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Leading the campaign is Jo Land, who is part of organisation 999 Call for the NHS.

She was greeted by around 20 supporters when she arrived at the hospital. Among them were representatives of the local campaign group - Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital.

Ms Land said: “I felt that I had to do something about these 44 ‘footprint areas” which are the subject of STPs.

“In my view they want to sell off services to private companies.

She added:“We have had a lot of support along the way, particularly young people.

“I think many people don’t realise the scale of what is being planned.

“We hope by marching from hospital to hospital it will bring out people in the community to fight to protect their local services.”

More information on the campaign is available by emailing footprintsnhs@gmail.com, or going to www.999nhsnortheast.org.