Published: 18:00, 02 June 2017
As many as 5,000 people are expected to march through Canterbury on Saturday with one clear message – stop cutting our health services.
Campaigners from across the county will take to the streets with whistles, banners and megaphones to protest against radical transformation plans which could see Kent and Canterbury Hospital lose all of its specialist services.
As the health bosses look to cut 300 beds across Kent and Medway and the nation faces a desperate shortage of GPs, there will be a gathering of parliamentary candidates, doctors, nurses and patients at the Dane John Gardens from 10.30am on Saturday.
The march, organised by Campaign for Health in East Kent (Chek), will start at 10.40am and circle around the back of the city centre and up the High Street. Chek chairman Ken Rogers said: “We are all geared up for Saturday and we are expecting up to 5,000 people at the march.
“We hope that as many people as possible will show up to show the strength of feeling behind this campaign.
“We want people to be aware of the plight of our health services and how we are being unfairly dealt a hand of cards that cuts the health services in Kent.
“We want this protest to make health bosses see, sense and hear us loud and clear that we want them to concentrate the services back into east Kent, not take them away.”
Half of the junior doctors at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital are set to be transferred to others within the trust after it was ruled there were not enough consultants to adequately supervise their training.
The east Kent health trust has reiterated that service changes - including moving cardiac and stroke provision to Ashford - are only temporary.
As the march passes by Canterbury Cathedral, protesters will pause for a minute’s silence as a mark of respect to the victims of the Manchester terror attack.