Over 800 people have taken to the streets of Colchester in order to show solidarity with NHS workers.
The ‘Save our NHS’ march was organised by The Colchester People’s Assembly and the Colchester Trade Unions Council.
And the intention of the rally was to prompt voters to consider the NHS ahead of the general election.
Polls have indicated that the once huge lead of the Conservative party has dissolved to virtually nothing.
Of course, such polls have frequently turned out to be completely unreliable.
Nonetheless, a group of around 800 people, comprised of health workers and other concerned individuals, marched through the streets of Colchester with the intention of raising awareness of NHS issues.
Raph Pigott, who helped organise the event, said even more joined the march as it made its way around the town.
“There must have been between 900 and 1,000 people with us at the end. We want to put NHS spending in the public eye, to ask people to vote to save our NHS. We want to stop the cuts to the NHS and to provide it with proper funding. We had more people turn out than we expected. It was big and lively, with lots of support shown by people who joined in the march and from people waving from the pavement.”
Many of the marches were later given the opportunity to voice their views during stage appearances.
“We are just asking people to vote with the NHS in mind and to use their vote for whatever party they think will do the best for it. Without the NHS a lot of young and older people will be in trouble.”
Raph was encouraged by the number of young people at the march, indicating that the younger generation is aware of the importance of the publicly-funded healthcare system.
“We had lots and lots of young people on the demonstration, from 13 and 14-year-olds to people in their early 20s. There was a big group of young people which is very encouraging in the run up to the election.”
Clare Marsh, who created the lead banner for the march, described the event as “universally positive”.
“It was very uplifting and it was wonderful to see the range of people joining in. There was a complete cross section of ages, lots of children and lots of older people. There is a lot of love shown for the NHS and a lot of passion. It was very positive, there were a lot of smiling faces.”
With nurses considering widespread strike action in response to deterioration in pay and working conditions, similar marches can be expected in the remaining months of 2017.