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North Devon Sees Red Day against health service cuts

PUBLISHED: 11:26 15 September 2016 | UPDATED: 14:04 15 September 2016

People are invited to a mass NHS cuts demonstration in Barnstaple on October 22. Picture: Tony Gussin

People are invited to a mass NHS cuts demonstration in Barnstaple on October 22. Picture: Tony Gussin

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People and businesses urged to join a mass demonstration in Barnstaple on October 22

A mass demonstration against cuts to the local health service will take to the streets of Barnstaple in October for North Devon Sees Red Day.

Campaign group Save Our Hospital Services (SOHS) hopes as many people as possible will join a procession through the town centre on Saturday, October 22.

It starts at 11am and will make its way along the High Street to the Square, where it is hoped to organise music, speeches and activities for all ages.

The event follows on from the group’s Red Line Campaign march of hundreds of people to North Devon District Hospital (NDDH), which showed the strength of feeling for local NHS services and opposition to any cuts.

Businesses have been urged to literally help ‘paint the town red’ on the day by dressing shop windows in scarlet, while people have been invited to wear red, don red face paint or even dye their hair to show support.

Campaigners hope other towns and villages will show support or organise their own events and it is hoped a similar event can be organised in Ilfracombe.

There are fears the twin reviews of the Success Regime process and the new draft Sustainability and Transformation (STP) plan could see major cuts to services.

Last week the leaked draft STP revealed A and E care would remain at NDDH but other acute services, such as paediatrics, maternity, neonatology, cardiovascular and stroke services could all be delivered in Plymouth and Exeter.

Campaigner Ian Williams said: “The proposition that lives are no longer clinically or financially sustainable is just not good enough and this day will give the 4,000-plus members of the Facebook group Save Our Hospital Services the chance to show their sense of outrage.

“It is intended to be a fun day but with a serious theme. We need to make North Devon really aware of the dramatic cuts that are being imposed on us.”

Netti Pearson of SOHS added: “We want all the businesses for that weekend to have red windows and show support for our RED Line Campaign against these awful cuts that are being imposed on us.

“The whole system will collapse, people will die and that’s why we need to make people understand what is happening.”

NHS bosses have said the review of services is necessary to stave off a predicted funding shortfall of hundreds of millions of pounds by 2020 if nothing is done.

* People of businesses wishing to find out more or get involved with North Devon Sees Red Day can email Ian Williams on ianwilliams2015@mail.com

* North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones will be addressing Barnstaple Town Council’s public meeting to answer questions on changes to health provision at 7pm on Monday in the Guildhall.

* A presentation on the Success Regime goes before the health and wellbeing scrutiny committee of Devon County Council on Monday afternoon.

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