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150 protest against Leicester hospital downgrading attack
Heather Rawling, Leicester Socialist Party
Socialist Party members were among more than 150 supporters of Save Our NHS Leicestershire who protested on the streets of Leicester city centre on 16 November opposing cuts in the NHS nationally and locally.
Thousands of leaflets were given out by campaigners. Many passers-by stopped to listen to the speeches. Some took extra leaflets to give to their workmates, families and neighbours.
People were shocked to hear about the planned closure of Leicester General Hospital as an acute hospital but were inspired by the successful campaign to save Glenfield Children's heart unit.
While the government has agreed money for hospital buildings in Leicester, the plans do not include enough beds and hospital capacity, so could result in a worse service in the future.
One couple with a young family walked past and refused a leaflet - but turned around when they heard that the General was threatened with closure. They agreed to take a bundle of leaflets to give out on their street.
The Brexit Party, campaigning close by with their expensive promotional material and gazebo, appeared miffed at being outflanked and completely sidelined.
They resorted to heckling but were unable to make any impact. Shoppers largely ignored them.
Involving thousands of people in the Glenfield children's heart unit campaign, and linking it to the trade union movement, contributed greatly to its success. Save Our NHS Leicestershire is building on that experience.
Speakers including health workers, trade unionists and NHS campaigners condemned this Tory government and the cuts.
The Socialist Party's Steve Score, co-chair of Save Our NHS Leicestershire, speaking in a personal capacity, called for the election of a Corbyn-led government on socialist policies that can reverse the cuts in the NHS and abolish privatisation.
But continuing the campaign is vital whatever the election result.
26 Feb Austerity kills
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