GLOUCESTERSHIRE campaigners are set to march on parliament as part of a national NHS protest.

About 100 people from Gloucestershire will take coaches from Stroud, Gloucester and Cheltenham on Saturday, March 4 to the ‘It’s Our NHS’ demonstration organised by Health Campaigns Together and The People’s Assembly Against Austerity.

The demonstration in London starts at 12pm and a stall will also be running in Kings Street, Stroud, from 11am until 1pm, with a photo call at 12pm to coincide with the start of the demonstration in the capital.

James Beecher, of Stroud Against the Cuts, said: “We hope people will join us on the coach to London or at our stall on Kings Street at 12noon to show their support for a publicly-funded, publicly-owned NHS providing comprehensive, universal care on the basis of need, not ability to pay, and to demonstrate their opposition to this government’s policies.

“This is a direct result of government policies over the past six years, not the fault of patients or the principles of the NHS.

“This government is making a political choice to under-fund the NHS, to close and privatise services and to reduce our access to healthcare.”

The protest comes as local campaigners have been highlighting private company Care UK’s takeover of the management of Out Of Hours care in Gloucestershire, and concerns about the new five-year Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP).

Stroud Against the Cuts is urging Gloucestershire councillors to follow the example of other local authorities who have successfully opposed their local STPs.